Muthulakshmi Reddi

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From this link and suggested by librarian Sam Kome:

Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddi was born on July 30, 1886 in Madras, India. Dr. Reddi was a tireless advocate for women’s rights in India. She was British India’s first woman legislator, and the first woman to serve as Deputy President of the Legislative Council. Dr. Reddi was also the first woman to serve as House Surgeon at the Government Maternity and Ophthalmic Hospital. In 1956, Dr. Reddi won the Padma Bhushan, the India’s third-highest civilian honor.

Muthulakshmi Reddi died in 1968 at the age of 81.

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Maryam Mirzhakhani

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Photo credit:  Stanford University

This page at the AMS website is collecting tributes to

Maryam Mirzakhani, May 3, 1977-July 14, 2017

“Maryam Mirzakhani, the only woman to win a Fields Medal, died on July 14 at the age of 40. Mirzakhani was a professor at Stanford University and a highly original mathematician who made a host of striking contributions to geometry and dynamical systems. Her work bridges several mathematical disciplines—including hyperbolic geometry, complex analysis, topology, and dynamics—and in return deeply influenced them all.”

 

 

 

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Marina Ratner

 

You may be inspired by this NY Times obituary for Marina Ratner. It opens our eyes not only to who can do math, but also to WHEN we can do work that is of value to the profession.

The article begins:

“Marina Ratner, an influential mathematician and Russian-Jewish émigré who defied the notion that the best and the brightest in her field do their finest work when they are young, died on July 7 at her home in El Cerrito, Calif. She was 78.”

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Amazing Women in Phenomenal Conference

by  Jacqueline Brannon Giles


Sometimes you have to take time out to mingle with others and to learn more about the challenges and struggles of other women. During my youthful days, I never attended a Women’s Conference, but today I was compelled by the Holy Spirit to rise up early in the morning to prepare to attend a conference at The Church Without Walls. The conference is led by First Lady Sheretta West and many other gifted and talented women in the United States.

In the session I attended, questions were asked: What do you have on your bucket list? What do you want to accomplish?

I answered clearly and audibly, “I want to impart and I want to develop protégés.”
I listened carefully and noticed that many voiced their desire to travel and to accomplish other creative and impressive feats. As I reflect on my life at 73 years old, I have been blessed to travel the heart of the African continent with a President of the United States of America in August 2000. As a member of President William Jefferson Clinton’s entourage I have traveled from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to Abuja, Nigeria, followed by a visit to Arusha, Tanzania, and then to Cairo, Egypt. I have attended the Handover Service from a Military Government to a Democracy in Abuja, Nigeria in May, 1999. I presented a research paper, entitled “Mathematics and Democracy.” The elite audience for the research paper was a Nigerian Think Tank in Abuja, Nigeria in July 2001.

As I reflect on the wisdom and gifts of my father, Reverend Edsel Warren Brannon, Sr. I can truly say that his pronouncement over my life has been actualized. He said a scripture: “Your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men.” Daddy was right!

A few days ago, I took time out to visit a great man, the Honorable Al Edwards, who presided over Texas District 146 for many years and who authored legislation to make Juneteenth a holiday. During our recent visit, Elder Edwards said, in summary, “When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, he could have designated the day as a holiday, but he did not.” Edwards continued in a careful and thoughtful manner, and he emphasized how his mission was to establish the holiday, and now there is a statue in Galveston, Texas standing tall in his image to commemorate the phenomenal accomplishments of his career. The message that slaves were freed arrived late in Texas, and, thus, the date of the arrival of the good news is labeled “Juneteenth.”

Today, June 24, 2017 when I saw the talented Yolanda Adams, a native Houstonian who is a Grammy Award recipient, I mentioned to her that I visited the Honorable Al Edwards in a location on South Braeswood. She encountered the Honorable Al Edwards at a 2017 Juneteenth program. She asked about his health, and I affirmed that he is improving and he desires to continue his work related to Juneteenth so that this generation of youths gets a more thorough understanding of the social and cultural challenges of African Americans in the United States. I believe my response was encouraging to her, and she paused and took a photograph with me. I immediately indicated to her that I would write articles and share them with the students at S.H.A. P. E. Community Center. My mission at this time in my career is to impart knowledge and inspiration so that creative and impactful achievements can permeate the millennials and the next generation in the 21st century. She smiled.

Today was a great day for me as I listened and learned more about the social, emotional, and spiritual journey of women who are beautiful, highly achieved and still learning how to negotiate their family and career in America, while praying to keep balance in their lives.

Finally, I greeted Deborah Duncan who I have admired for many years, and I shared with her my interest in teaching and inspiring S.H.A.P.E. Summer Session students. Our focus this summer is mathematics, pattern recognition and the philosophy of mathematics. She smiled and agreed to take a photograph with me so that the students can see that I am always mindful of their need to be mentored and inspired to achieve excellence.

I enjoyed the conference that addressed issues of amazing women who have phenomenal lives in Houston, Harris County and in the United States of America.

 

 

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Dr May Edward Chinn

Anyone want to write a post about her?

Thanks to Catherine Roberts, who posted this link on Facebook.  I have not checked the sources, but it sounds like a story worth pursuing.

http://www.womenyoushouldknow.net/how-is-it-possible-we-never-learned-about-this-woman-meet-dr-may-edward-chinn/

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Hemavathy Appan

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This is a story of my mom, Dr. Hemavathy, a pediatrician in India. She was born in Kariapattinam, a small village in southern India in the state of Tamil Nadu. The village had one school that only went up to the equivalent of 4th grade. The medium of instruction was Tamil. As was common in Indian families at the time, she was part of a large joint family consisting of her parents, five of her other siblings, and five of her eldest brother’s children. Mom showed interest in academics early on, despite the lack of real opportunity. After a few years, the family moved to Chennai, a large city and the capital of Tamil Nadu. One of the first challenges she faced was having to ace an English proficiency test to be able to join a public school in Chennai that provided English as a medium of instruction.

By the time mom finished high school in 1967, her dad had retired and her eldest brother was the sole earning member of the family with 12 dependents. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been.

Mom became a doctor almost entirely by chance – she had excellent grades in her high school finals, but she didn’t have anyone to counsel her on career options. She was considering getting a bachelor’s degree in Physics.  A family friend who happened to visit them saw her scores and convinced her to apply to study medicine, telling her that she had a good chance of getting admission. Given the family financial situation, the understanding was that she could only join if she also got a scholarship. Her grades helped her get a scholarship, and she was in! She started medical school at Stanley Medical College in 1968, one of 30 women in her class of 120.

Money was tight all through her college days. Mom used to walk to college instead of taking the bus, and she would borrow medical books from the library or from friends instead of buying them. She did this to save up scholarship money left over after college tuition to help towards family expenses. After getting her medical degree she started working for hospitals in Chennai while also getting a diploma in child health. She moved to Hosur, a small town in Tamil Nadu after her wedding, where she and my dad raised my family.

In Hosur, she worked all day at a public hospital, which provides free medical treatment to low-income patients. Her specialty was neonatal care, pediatrics, and tubal sterilization. She also started a private practice in the evenings, remodeling our home’s front balcony into a medical examination room. The practice had some challenges early on but slowly grew to be very successful. I still remember a day in my childhood when she once got paid peanuts, and I mean that literally! One of her patients was a peanut farmer who had cash flow problems and he asked to pay her with a sack of peanuts for a year of medical care.

Throughout her career, she won multiple awards and commendations from the government for her service. Now retired, mom continues to work at her private practice she started over 30 years ago. She works 8 to 10 hours every day seeing patients from all walks of life. Her patients travel from many nearby villages because they trust her with their health needs. Mom also consults for several hospitals as a specialist in OB-GYN and pediatrics. She shows no signs of slowing down and says she will keep working because her patients need her.

My mom’s life story has taught me a key life lesson – resilience. No matter what life throws at you, whether you have personal challenges or problems at work, work through it taking action to improve your situation. How you respond to challenges is entirely up to you. Develop a resilient attitude and you can conquer anything.

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Mom and Dad together when visiting us in Texas.

GGSTEM would like to thank Preetha Appan, who saw our call for international submissions and contributed this post in honor of her mother’s birthday.

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Iris Runge

Iris Runge: A Pioneer in applied mathematics and electronics

By Else Hoyrup, Danish mathematician and historian of science

elsehoyrup@mail.dk

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This image of Runge appears on the Humboldt University Site.

Iris Runge (1888-1966) was a German applied mathematician, physicist, and inventor. In her family there were many scientists. Her father was the famous professor in applied mathematics at Göttingen University, Carl Runge (1856-1927). He was a specialist in numerical analysis and one of his results was “Runge-Kutta’s approximation formula”, which is used to solve differential equations numerically. Iris Runge also came to work with numerical analysis later, when she became one of the first “industrial mathematicians.” So she followed in her father’s footsteps, but nevertheless she had a very independent mind through all her life. This independence was very appreciated, both in her family, and at her work.

Iris R. was employed as a mathematical problem-solver at the German corporations, Osram and Telefunken. At first she worked at Osram with research and calculations on incandescent light bulbs. Later she was transferred from Osram to Telefunken, where she worked with radio tubes (electron tubes). Iris R. just loved to calculate and solve problems, and the more complicated problems, the better! This we know from her letters to her family. She was so proficient at her work that, although she was a woman in a man’s world, she became highly respected as a specialist.

Iris Runge was a pioneer, both as an industrial mathematician and as a woman. At her time, it was still hard for women to get a chance to work professionally.

Among the special fields, with which Iris R. worked at Osram and Telefunken, we can mention:

  1. Numerical analysis (mathematics) – before the computers
  2. Applied statistics. She co-authored one of the first textbooks on statistical quality control in mass production. The book was only published in German, so although it was an important and pioneering work, it did not receive the international attention, it ought to have got
  3. Optics
  4. Material science (physics)
  5. Electronics
  6. Besides all this, Iris Runge also made some inventions in physics, electronics, and technology.

An intellectual family in wartimes and before and after

Iris Runge’s family was very culturally interested and they had many English-speaking contacts, because they mastered English. It was really an internationally-oriented family.

But already in the 1930s, there came much political turmoil in Germany because of Hitler and the Nazis. Iris Runge and her family were very conscious and active socially and politically.

During World War II, Iris Runge was forced to stay at Osram and Telefunken. She was not happy with her work anymore, because some of the electronics she worked with could be used in the war. She was not a Nazi. She contemplated emigration to the United States, like her sister and brother-in-law, the great mathematician, Richard Courant (1888-1972), who was a Jew. She had hoped to be able to get an assistantship with the famous Belgian-American historian of science, George Sarton (1884-1956). But this job did not materialize, because he could not get the money for it. So she was forced to stay on at Osram and Telefunken in order to earn a living.

Iris Runge’s brother, Wilhelm Runge (1895-1987), was a pioneer in radar technology, and because radar was very important in the war, he had to work directly under a military contract – and to be a member of the Nazi party.  But no sources mention that he was a confirmed Nazi.  As a matter of fact, the whole Runge family was a cosmopolitan non-Nazi family.

We can contrast Wilhelm Runge with another German military engineer, the rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun (1912-1977). He was definitely a confirmed Nazi, and he used concentration camp prisoners as slave workers. This has been shown in a TV documentary about Wernher von Braun and the Russian rocket pioneer, Sergei Korolev (1907-1966). After the war, Wernher von Braun was headhunted to the United States, where he became the leader of NASA’s space program. He became very popular in America.

To return to our heroine, Iris Runge, she worked at the crossroads of mathematics, physics, technology, and industry.

After the war, it became difficult for German scientists in military-related jobs to continue their work in Germany in private businesses, because the allied occupation authorities had misgivings about this. Some of the scientists emigrated to the United States (as Wernher von Braun), or to the Soviet Union. Many of those, who chose to remain in Germany, continued their work at the universities. Iris Runge herself also had a university career after the war. She ended as a professor of physics at Humboldt University in Berlin. After the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, this university was situated in Eastern Berlin.

Although some of Iris Runge’s work with radio tubes (electron tubes) could be used by the military, the civilian possibilities for applications were even greater. Just think of the radio, television and all other electronics. The electronics of Iris Runge and many others heralded our modern IT-society.

Iris Runge was indeed a pioneer, both professionally, and as a woman scientist in a man’s world.

References

Renate Tobies: Iris Runge: A life at the Crossroads of Mathematics, Science, and Industry. / Translated by Valentine A. Pakis. Birkhäuser/Springer, 2012. 442 pp. ISBN: 978-3-0348-0229-1. Originally published in German under the title “Morgen möchte ich wieder 100 herrliche Sachen ausrechnen”: Iris Runge bei Osram und Telefunken. 2010.

Else Hoyrup: Iris Runge: A Pioneer in Industrial Mathematics. [Review essay of Renate Tobies’ book]. Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) Newsletter, Vol. 46, No. 3, May-June 2016, pp. 14-17.

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