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Friday, November 3, 2000
Physics Building, Room 204
Note special time.
[Host: Simonetta Liuti]
Department of Mathematics, Virginia Tech
"Women Becoming Mathematicians: The Doctoral Classes of 1940-1959"
I give a report on an oral history-based study of the approximately 200
women who earned Ph.D.'s in mathematics from American colleges and
universities during the years 1940-1959. I focus in some detail on the
following questions: How did the women of this generation develop their
mathematical interests and ambitions? Which individuals and institutions
were particularly supportive of their mathematical goals? What obstacles
to professional success did they encounter as they tried to build careers
in mathematics? How did they balance the competing demands of career and
personal life? How did they strike a balance between teaching, research,
and service to the profession? What lessons can contemporary
mathematicians, male and female, learn from the experiences of this
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