Celebrating Women in Mathematics

Thursday 12th March 2020

On the 6th of March Wolverhampton hosted a hugely successful one day conference for Year 9 students consisting of inspirational and interactive mathematics workshops to celebrate the contribution that women have made to mathematics and its related STEM disciplines. The workshops were themed around the work of famous mathematicians. Each workshop began with a short biography of the chosen mathematician and included an interactive element where students worked together in teams. The workshops were all designed to be accessible to Year 9 students.

The conference consisted of inspirational and interactive maths workshops that celebrated the contribution that women have made to maths and its related STEM disciplines. The workshops were themed around the work of famous mathematicians. Each workshop began with a short biography of the chosen mathematician, and included an interactive element where students worked together in teams. All workshops were designed to be accessible to Year 9 students.

The workshops showcased three inspirational female mathematicians:

Ada Lovelace – Mathematics & Computation

Ada LovelaceOpens a new window was an English mathematician, known for her work on computer algorithms which would lead to the development of computer programming. Her ideas on algorithms are central to many areas of maths and computing today. This workshop looked at how we can use simple algebra and problem-solving skills to develop an algorithm of our own, to solve the Towers of Hanoi Problem.

Reidun Twarock – Mathematics & Biology

Reidun TwarockOpens a new window is a German mathematician who won the Institute of Mathematics & its ApplicationsOpens a new window (IMA) Gold MedalOpens a new window in 2018, for her work on the applications of geometry and symmetry in the study of viruses. This workshop explored how complicated patterns can be constructed using simple geometric shapes, through the medium of mathematical origami.

Katherine Johnson – The Power of Counting

Katherine JohnsonOpens a new window was an American mathematician whose work played a central role in the space program. She died on February 24 2020, aged 101. NASAOpens a new window described her as, “The little girl who loved to count who became the woman to inspire us to dream immeasurable dreams.” She was also the lead character in the 2016 film Hidden FiguresOpens a new window. This workshop explored how simple counting techniques can enable us to derive solutions to highly complex problems.

The feedback that we received about this event was hugely positive, with participants saying:

  • The activities were very interactive and fun.
  • I would recommend this event, because it was useful, fun and involved learning new things.
  • This event helped me to understand more about maths, and inspired me to do and be whatever I want to be.

Our next event at the University of Wolverhampton will be on Friday 24 April 2020. This event will focus on careers in maths. There will be limited spaces, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

By Abigail Parkes

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