Living Mathematician Research Project Presentation Due Wed July 11th
You may work alone or with at most one other person. Have your person
approved by Dr. Sarah - each person/group must work on a different
Choose a living person who has significant mathematics in their background
and at least one published mathematics work to their name, and who we
will not cover during the research seminar.
- Find a picture of your mathematician to show the class during your
- Find a problem that they have worked on.
Research the history of that problem to share during the research seminar
and be sure to include at least
one reference to a journal article.
- How many published mathematical works can you find by them on MathSciNet,
arXiv.org and other sources? Summarize what you found.
- Include quotes by the mathematician, when possible, which are put into
context by the presenter(s).
- Address the influences that led them to becoming a mathematician, by answering some (or all, if possible) of the following:
What influences led them to becoming a mathematician?
Did they have support from family and society?
Why did they become a mathematician?
What kind of barriers did they face while becoming a mathematician?
What kind of gender, racial, multicultural/ethnic, diversity (broadly defined) issues are in this mathematician's experiences?
Be sure to also address whether they are married and have a family, and whether their spouse or partner is also a mathematician or scientist.
- Mathematical Style: Address as many of the following as possible:
How do they describe the process of doing mathematics and/or mathematical research?
How do they get the flashes of insight that they need to do research?
How do their mathematical minds work? Do they have a photographic memory? Are they really good with numbers? Are they good at visualization?
Does the mathematician often collaborate (ie write papers with other mathematicians) or instead mostly work by themselves?
How do they describe what mathematics is and/or where it comes from?
Finding Living Researchers
MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive:
Mathematicians born from 1940 to the present
Agnes Scott Chronological Index of Women Mathematicians
Mathematicians of the African Diaspora
Statisticians in the News
I encourage you to look around and find people who may not be listed
in the standard places. For example:
A number of the executives at google have significant mathematics in their backgrounds.
Jeff Westbrook, a writer for Futurama and The Simpsons
has published mathematical journal articles and
interview comments about mathematics, as have other writers like
David X. Cohen
and Ken Keeler.
a physicist and astronomer, is
the creator of MathWorld and works at Wolfram research