The Mathematicians Project: Mathematicians Are Not Just White Dudes

UPDATE: The Mathematician List is now an awesome table. Check it out and thank John Stevens and Jedidiah Butler. I’ll continue to update and improve it. 

Here is the presentation from NCTM Regionals in Chicago

What is the Mathematicians Project?

The Short Version:

  • We as math teachers tend to only talk about white male mathematicians.
  • Most of my students don’t look like that, and thus, they have few mathematical role models they can identify with.
  • Take 10-15 minutes a week to research (read Wikipedia, that’s all you need) a not-old-dead-white-dude mathematician, and then take 5 minutes in class to tell your students about them.  Include a picture. It’s worth it, I swear.

Here is a SEARCHABLE SPREADSHEET LIST of mathematicians

Explanatory Blogs

I’ve blogged at MTMS about this project in far more detail than I have here. Check out those four posts below.

Post #1 The Mathematician Project

Post #2 How to Enact the Mathematician Project 

Post #3 What I Learned About My Students

Post #4 Extensions of the Mathematician Project

For the super excited, you can read the paper I wrote about the project below.

Mathematicians Paper

List of Mathematicians with Oppressed Identities (with Links) or use this spreadsheet

Men (alphabetical by last name)

Women (alphabetical by last name)

This book is a great resource for many of these women.

Trans Mathematicians

FYI, I should say that I cringed to use the labels “Men” and “Women” because of a former student who has graciously educated me more about transgender and non-binary people, but I recognize that those labels are still helpful as categories. 

General Resources for Researching Mathematicians

Lego NASA Women 

Women of NASA to be Immortilized in Lego Form

Biographies of Women Mathematicians

Black Heroes of Mathematics

Black Mathematical Excellence

Grandma Got STEM

Intersections – Poetry and Mathematics

Math Mentoring Project

Mathematically Gifted and Black

Mathematicians of the African Diaspora (h/t Keith Devlin)

Macarthur Fellows

Mathematicians Born/Died on this Day This has a huge number of mathematicians. You’ll have to seek a bit for the non-white-male ones, but you can look at the Birthplace Index to help out. (h/t Andrew Thomas)

Math History Course Notes courtesy of commenter below. Includes Sophie Germain.

“On Being a Black Female Math Whiz During the Space Race” NYTimes

Beyond Banneker: Black Mathematicians and the Paths to Excellence by Erica N Walker

African American Registry

Mathematicians of the African Diaspora Special Articles

Awesome Things Great Teachers Have Done:

I have no good visuals for this project. The best I’ve got is this map that 1) Is scaled to accurately represent area 2) Gets pins for the location of each mathematician we introduce to class.

mathematician wall

I also have added a Hidden Figures poster with tags on each of the women. 2017-03-13 13.07.44

Each of which I like and students enjoy. But Brian (on twitter @_b_p and blogging at has made some excellent printable posters to put up and he’s been kind enough to share them here! What a nice guy!



42 thoughts on “The Mathematicians Project: Mathematicians Are Not Just White Dudes

  1. So excited to find your page and these resources. Doing something like this with my students was one of my hopes for this year. So encouraging to read about your experience with it!


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    • If you have names you’d like me to add, please let me know! Right now, there are actually more women on the list than men. I’ll continue updating!


      • I know she’s mentioned in the Math History Course Notes you linked to (which looks like an amazing resource also), but could you include Sophie Germain in with the rest of the women mathematicians? She’s a personal favorite of mine (and my dog is named after her)!


      • Of COURSE. I’m horribly embarrassed to not have had her on here yet. I’ve definitely presented on her before.


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  21. This is one of the most wonderful things I have ever encountered. I absolutely will be using this as a means to deliberately disrupt patterns of marginalization in mathematics. Thank you so much!


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