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Most of the arts, as painting, sculpture, and music, have emotional appeal to the general public. This is because these arts can be experienced by some one or more of our senses. Such is not true of the art of mathematics; this art can be appreciated only by mathematicians, and to become a mathematician requires a long period of intensive training. The community of mathematicians is similar to an imaginary community of musical composers whose only satisfaction is obtained by the interchange among themselves of the musical scores they compose.
In H. Eves, Mathematical Circles Squared, Boston: Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, 1972.
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Complexities: Women in Mathematics
Complexities: Women in Mathematics, Bettye Anne Case and Anne M. Leggett, editors, 2005, 456pp, illustrations, tables, $35, cloth, ISBN 0-691-11462-5, Princeton University Press; http://pup.princeton.edu.
Building upon the archives of the Newsletter from the Association for Women in Mathematics(AWM), the editors have produced a fascinating and informative overview of the position of women in mathematics. The work is divided into five sections. Section one, ”Inspiration”, is divided into two parts: the first discusses well-known twentieth century mathematicians, chosen because they serve as an inspiration for the current generation of female mathematicians; the second considers women from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. All of these mathematicians had to overcome great challenges to pursue their careers. The second section, ”Joining Together”, examines the founding of AWM. New difficulties encountered by women in mathematics is discussed in the third section, “ Choices and Challenges”. The fourth section, "Celebration," includes plenary talks and papers from the Olga Taussky-Todd Celebration of Careers for Women in Mathematics. Finally, “Into a New Century”, the last section, looks at the female mathematician of today.
The book is exactly what I need in school. The result of reminiscences from a conference in honor of Olga Taussky-Todd's work in mathematics, it contains numerous biographies and autobiographies of women in mathematics--far more than any other resource I own. It goes beyond the usual historical women to include many contemporary women whose careers in academia, business and industry took interesting turns. Many of these articles include information I do not have in any other source. For example, I discovered that Evelyn Boyd Granville and Marjorie Lee Browne, who earned their PhDs in mathematics in 1949, were not the first African-American women to do so (as I had previously assumed). Actually, Euphemia Lofton Haynes, who received her doctorate in 1943 from Catholic University, was the first to earn that distinction. Also this book contains a wonderful collection of photographs of female mathematicians from the AWM archives.
Erica Dakin Voolich, Mathematics Teacher, Solomon Schecter Day School, Newton, MA