Biographies

Books on Women in Mathematics

Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians know as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women. Originally math teachers in the South’s segregated public schools, these gifted professionals answered Uncle Sam’s call during the labour shortages of World War II. With new jobs at the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, Virginia, they finally had a shot at jobs that would push their skills to the limits.

Complexities: Women in Mathematics by Bettye Anne Case

This captivating book gives voice to women mathematicians from the late eighteenth century through to the present day. It documents the complex nature of the conditions women around the world have faced–and continue to face–while pursuing their careers in mathematics. The earlier parts of the book provide historical context and perspective, beginning with excursions into the lives of fifteen women born before 1920. Included are histories of collective efforts to improve women’s opportunities in research mathematics. In addition, a photo essay puts a human face on the subject as it illustrates women’s contributions in professional associations. 

Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of Mathematics by Talithia Williams

This is a full-color volume that takes aim at the forgotten influence of women on the development of mathematics over the last two millennia. You’ll see each eminent mathematician come to life on each page, women like the astronomer-philosopher Hypatia, theoretical physicist Emmy Noether, and rocket scientist Annie Easley. The book is divided in three parts: I – The Pioneers, II – From Code Breaking to Rocket Science and III – Modern Math Mavens, detailing the careers and achievements of thirty women scientists, with brief mention of few others.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

A charmingly illustrated and educational book, it highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary. The trailblazing women profiled include well-known figures like primatologist Jane Goodall, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist and mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

Notable Women in Mathematics: A Biographical Dictionary by Teri Perl

This volume features substantive biographical essays on 59 women from around the world who have made significant contributions to mathematics from antiquity to the present. Designed for secondary school students and the general public, each profile describes major life events, obstacles faced and overcome, educational and career milestones–including a discussion of mathematical research in non-technical terms–and interests outside of 2 promotics. Although the collection includes historical women, the emphasis is on contemporary mathematicians, many of whom have not been profiled in any previous work. The work also celebrates the contributions of minority women, including 10 African-American, Latina, and Asian mathematicians.

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