Really? You're calling it a doughnut?
In an article about maths! Shameful.
Iranian academic Maryam Mirzakhani is today the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Fields Medal, known as the “Nobel Prize of mathematics”. Mirzakhani, a professor of maths at Stanford University, landed the top gong for her work on the symmetry of curved surfaces. You can all about her research, right here [PDF]. " …
Is there a branch of mathematics which describes the hyperlink paths that are followed by someone reading mathematical articles on Wikipedia? If not, there ought to be.
Back at uni there was a game we'd play when bored after hours of 'studying' in the library. Basically, you pick a random topic on Wikipedia and see how many articles you have to go through before reaching Adolf Hitler's. The person with the least number of pages between their random topic and Hitler is the winner.
I've always been tempted to write a program that would work out the optimal paths to Hitler from any given Wikipedia article (possibly using Dijkstra's algorithm or something similar).
the optimal paths to Hitler from any given Wikipedia article (possibly using Dijkstra's algorithm or something similar)
Dijkstra's would work, but it'd be a good application for an ant algorithm. Now that you mention it, that'd be a nice assignment for a CS undergrad, combining practical stuff like HTTP scraping and HTML parsing with the graph data structure and algorithm work.
Why should her gender matter? She obviously got the "gig" because she's the best of the best at what she does. Can't we just appreciate someone achieving something because they worked damn hard for it without bringing their gender or any other non-related matters into it?
True, it shouldn't matter. However, given the relatively small number of female scientists (certainly outside life sciences) that hit the headlines, it is good to have a new role model for aspiring female scientists. I have a feeling that many girls (certainly here in the Netherlands) are turned away from certain fields of science exactly because there are prejudices in society as a whole about what areas are suitable for women. Extra role models can help change those ideas. I do not mean to say more women must enter science, but rather that they should not be deterred by old-fashioned ideas about what they should be doing.
Winning a Fields is much more difficult than getting a Nobel - they're only awarded every 4 years with a maximum of 4 awarded each time. You have to be under 40, so if you're like Andrew Wiles and crack Fermat's Last Theorem at the age of 41, you're out of luck. And the prize money of C$15,000 (Fields was a Canuck) is a bit pitiful by modern standards.
I'm sure Marcus was thinking that she comes from the region that pretty much invented mathematics, astronomy and laid the foundations for much of the knowledge of the classical world. Also the numerals we use, the decimal point, algebra and algorithm all originate with the same Persian scholar ( Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī - he didn't invent the digits, but they were introduced through his work ) among many other important developments through history. So there is a massive and deep history and culture of mathematical brilliance there and it makes sense that a woman from Iran would do well in that field.
Yup, almost certain that is what he was getting at.
No I meant she would never have gotten the top level training from her mentor who is one of the best in the world. She could get the same probably pretty much in any developed country in the world but probably not in any on the majority muslim countries (Malaysia maybe). And yes I am aware that region of the world led in math and science at one time but 1300AD was a long time ago. Also notice where she is teaching now (so the next genius Iranian mathematician will also have to leave to achieve her full potential). Making it is hard enough without having to deal with cultural fail.
I do love watching writers try to explain complex technical topics.1 From the PDF the article links to:
Riemann surfaces are named after the 19th century mathematician Bernhard Riemann, who was the first to understand the importance of abstract surfaces, as opposed to surfaces arising concretely in some ambient space.
I'm trying to imagine the writer who would be informed by the former clause, and enlightened by the latter. "Reimann, eh? I've always wondered who first got out of that whole ambient-space trap."
The piece actually does a pretty good job of summarizing how topology is connected to algebraic geometry, hyperbolic geometry, &c, but I really must wonder how many readers will stick through it to find out.
1No, really. I have a degree in professional writing. 's not what I do on the day job, but it's still interesting to watch.
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