about the Project
Entering the field of mathematics can be tough, and women often encounter specific obstacles. The exhibition offers a glimpse into the world of mathematics through photographs (by Noel Tovia Matoff) and excerpts of interviews (by Sylvie Paycha and Sara Azzali) of thirteen women mathematicians throughout Europe. This website provides a platform for contact, exchange and mutual assistance.
This touring exhibition, whose starting point is the 7th ECM held in July 2016 in Berlin, stems from the observation that nowadays, women still find it difficult to embrace a career in the mathematical academic world and the disparity between the proportion of men and that of women among professional mathematicians is still shamefully large.
The thirteen women mathematicians portrayed here share with us their experience, thus serving as role models to stimulate young women scientists to trust their own strength. In presenting mathematics through women mathematicians’ perspectives and samples of their life stories, we hope to highlight the human aspects of producing mathematics, making this discipline more tangible and therefore more accessible to outsiders or newcomers.
Following the opening in Berlin, the exhibit has been traveling to more than sixty cities in and out of Europe, inclouding South America, Australia and Africa. This touring format orignally is envisaged as a networking opportunity and for which the project was awarded with the Humboldt Alumni Award 2015, has indeed proved to reinforce collaborations and exchanges between mathematicians in different European countries, and stimulate dialogue around the themes of the exhibition between the general public and mathematicians.
The present exhibition has further triggered other similar projects leading to extended versions of the exhibition in various cities (Cambridge, Aachen, Kaiserslautern, Heidelberg and even other continents, in Chile) where Portraits of Mathematicians (and computer scientists in the case of Heidelberg) where will be added to the existing 14 panels.
This exhibition and the catalogue (publishing house: Verlag am Fluss) are the result of the joint efforts of the photographer Noel Tovia Matoff and four mathematicians by Sylvie Paycha, Sara Azzali, Alexandra Antoniouk, Magdalena Georgescu, with the precious help of Maria Hoffmann-Dartevelle, who translated into German and Sara Munday, who proofread the interviews and, last but not least, our two inspired graphic designers Wenke Neunast/eckedesign (exhibition) and Gesine Krüger (catalogue).
Bringing this exhibition project to life turned out to be much more difficult than expected, for a project centered around women issues does not find much support in a mathematical world still very much dominated by men. We have learned a lot from overcoming the many obstacles on the path to its realization.
The following organizations sponsored the exhibition:
- Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
- Bosch Foundation
- Maecenia Frankfurt Foundation
- University of Potsdam
- Berlin mathematical school
- European Women in Mathematics
- TU Berlin
- TU Mathematics library
- French Embassy in Germany
- London Mathematical Society
Organizations which supported the project:
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