Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Celebrating a WINNING Woman!

     The International Congress of Mathematicians meets every four years (next in 2026) and, at these meetings, awards the Fields Medal --  an award given to two or three or four outstanding mathematicians aged 40 or younger.  The year 2014 was the first in which a woman won this medal -- "For her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces." -- she was Maryam Mirzakhani (1977-2017) -- who died too young of breast cancer.

     In her collection, Mathematics for Ladies:  Poems on Women in Science (Goldsmiths Press, 2022), Jessy Randall has a poem that celebrates Mirzakhani -- and I offer it below.

     MARYAM MIRZAKHANI (1977-2017)      by Jessy Randall   

          I paint mathematics in creatures,
          write my notes in Persian.  They say
          "This article may be too technical
          for most readers to understand."
          I say try.  They say one and I say
          infinity.  They say dead and I stay dead.
          They say study, experiment, postulate,
          and I look out the window and see it complete.
          They say first.  I say, not last.

Here is a link to a review of Mathematics for Ladies and  this link leads on an online interview with poet Jessy Randall.  This link leads to information about International Women in Mathematics Day and its celebration of Mirzakhani.

     This link leads to previous mentions of Mirzakhani in this blog -- and this other link leads to additional poems by Jessy Randall included herein.

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