# 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.

If you’re in, go ahead and scroll down for names of mathematicians and links or feel free to use this searchable spreadsheet, which is periodically updated.

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.

*Please post in the comments what is most helpful. Nothing would make me happier than to hear that others have adopted this project and have improved on it. Some people already have! Below the list are additional links of websites and projects that people have done. *

*Also share any mathematician you think I should feature here and I will update. Pester me if I’m taking too long or seem to have forgotten. *

[UPDATE: It has been pointed out that several of the “traditional” mathematicians we talk about were likely not, in fact, white. Euclid, Eratosthenes, & Pythagoras have all been mentioned to me as likely not having been white. I think this conversation with students can be productive. I’ve certainly talked to students about it, and about why the images we see of these men are of traditionally looking white men. If you have one like it with your class, I would be curious to hear how it went.]

## A List of Not White Men Mathematicians with Links

**Men (alphabetical by last name)**

Artur Avila (Brazilian) b. 1979

David Blackwell (African American) 1919-2010

Jose Adem Chain (Mexican) b. 1921

Ngô Bào Châu (Vietnamese) b. 1972

Shiing Shen Chern (Chinese) 1911 – 2004

Elbert Frank Cox (African American) 1895-1969

Ismail Mustafa al-Faliki (Egyptian) 1825-1901 *Very little info here. I must have gotten him from a book. I’ll let you know what that is if/when I find it again. *

Heisuke Hironaka (Japanese) b. 1931

Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi (Persian) c. 780-c.850

Kunihiko Kodaira (Japanese) 1915-1997

Victor Neumann-Lara (Mexican) 1933-2004

In Spanish, but a longer bio here.

Robert Eugene Megginson (Native American) b. 1948

Kelly Miller (African-American) 1863-1939

Herman Mena (Ecuadorian)

Shigefumi Mori (Japanese) b. 1951

Srinivasa Ramanujan (Indian) 1887-1920

There are also lots. of. books. on. him…

Diego Rodriguez (Mexcian) 1569-1668

Thomas F Storer (Native American) 1938-2006

Richard Tapia (Chicano) b. 1939

Terence Tao (Chinese Australian) b. 1975

John Urschel (African-American) b.1991

He’s a football player, and awesome.

Scott Williams (African American) b. 1943

Wen Tsun Wu (Chinese) b. 1919

Shing-Tung Yau (Chinese) b. 1949

**Women (alphabetical by last name)**

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

Maria Chudnovsky b. 1977

Fan Chung (Taiwanese-American) b. 1949

Joan Clarke (1917-1996)

Sue Finley (American) modern

Hannah Fry (English) modern

Courtney Gibbons (American) modern

Concha Gomez (Cuban American) modern

Margaret Hamilton (American) b. 1936

Euphemia Lofton Hayes (African-American) 1890-1980

Hypatia (Greek) c. 350-415

Grace Hopper (American) 1906-1992

Mary Jackson (African American) 1921-2005

Mae Jemison (African American)

Katherine Johnson (Coleman) (African American) b. 1918

They’re making a movie! Take all your kids!

Nalini Joshi (Indian-Burmese-Australian)

Frances Kirwan (British) b. 1959

Sofia Kovalevskaya (Russian) 1850-1891

Isabella Laba (Polish) b. 1966

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)

Vivenne Malone-Mayes (African-American) 1932-1995

Maryam Mirzakhani (Iranian-American) b. 1977

Stanford Article on Fields Medal

Emmy Noether (German) 1882-1935

There’s a lot out there on her.

Hee Oh (S. Korean) b. 1969

Fun article including her work with Apollonian Gaskets

Marian Pour-El (American) 1928-2009

Marjorie Rice (American) b. 1975

Sally Ride (American) b.

Doris Schattschneider (American) b. 1939

Marjorie Senechal (American) b. 1939

Caroline Series (English) b. 1951

Mary Somerville (Scottish) 1780-1872

Jean Springer (Jamaican) b. 1939

Alicia Boole Stott (Irish-English) 1860-1940

Daina Taimina (Latvian) b. 1954

Karen Uhlenbeck (American) b. 1942

Dorothy Vaughn (African American) 1910-2008

**Trans Mathematicians**

Adrian Scott Duane modern

*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**

Women of NASA to be Immortilized in Lego Form

Biographies of Women Mathematicians

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

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

# 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.

I also have added a Hidden Figures poster with tags on each of the women.

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

Beyond_White_Dudes_Mathematicians

You need to check out the work of Scott Williams (http://www.maa.org/scott-wwilliams), in particular his project http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/

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Thank you for taking the time to make this list.

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No problem! Check back often – I’ll keep it updated.

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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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Love this resource.

Here’s my most recent math history course notes. http://bit.ly/495-S16 There’s material on classic Persian, Indian, and Chinese mathematics. Maybe of interest are the resources from Day 12 when they were supposed to research women mathematicians.

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Some Chinese Chines-American mathematicians I care for: Wu Wenjun, Shiing-Shen Chern, Shing-Tung Yau

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Updated! Thanks for sharing.

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How about computer scientists? Grace Hopper: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper amazing Navy Admiral. Joan Clarke: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29840653 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Clarke broke Enigma with Turing during WW2 (character based on her featured in The Imitation Game), and Ada Lovelace the fist programmer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Lovelace

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Updated! Thanks, Karen!

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There are lots of active mathematicians who are not just white dudes. So many that I can’t list all of them.

Here’s one place to find them:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MathMentoringNetwork/

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Thank you! I added it to the blog.

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Oh! Here’s another blog curated by my friend Rachel Levy called “Grandma Got STEM”

https://ggstem.wordpress.com/

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This is awesome! Thank you for bringing it to my attention through Twitter! 🙂

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