Women are still much underrepresented in mathematics and theoretical physics, particularly at IHES, where only 10% of its visitors are female. IHES, in line with Université Paris-Saclay, firmly intends to reduce that gap and attract more women researchers.
To identify the best way to do so, the Institute wishes to take advantage of the experience, hindsight and know-how of several organizations that have been created over the years to raise awareness and promote equal opportunities for women in mathematics. For decades now, female mathematicians across the world have been joining forces to encourage more women to choose STEM and to ensure that they get fair and equal treatment when they do so.
IHES thus organized a panel discussion featuring a former visiting professor at IHES as well as representatives from the Association for Women in Mathematics, that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and the European Women in Mathematics, all of whom are strong diversity and inclusion advocates.
The event took place in a hybrid format on Monday, October 4, at 6pm Paris time, both at the Marilyn and James Simons Conference Center, IHES, and online.
Panelists were: Eva Bayer-Fluckiger, Professor Emeritus at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Kathryn Leonard, president of the Association of Women in Mathematics, and Andrea Walther, co-convenor of the European Women in Mathematics.
By sharing their experiences and their expertise, they helped identify relevant initiatives to accompany and promote women researchers in mathematics, and ensure that they are better represented at institutions like IHES. The funds raised later on at the next Friends of IHES gala, dedicated to “Women in Fundamental Research”, will then help implement some of those initiatives at the Institute.
Eva Bayer-Fluckiger is a mathematician whose interests include algebraic number theory, Galois cohomology of algebraic groups, quadratic forms, Hermitian forms and involution algebras, knot theory, and the application of algebra and number theory to algebraic codes. During her career she was a visiting professor at IHES several times. She is currently Professor Emeritus at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
Kathryn Leonard is a mathematician and computer scientist whose research interests include geometric models for computer graphics, computer vision, and data analysis, with an emphasis on explainability. She is a professor of computer science at the Occidental College, Los Angeles, and director of the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics. She has been the President of the Association for Women in Mathematics since February 2021.
Andrea Walther is an applied mathematician working on nonlinear optimization, non-smooth optimization, and scientific computing. She is known in particular for her work on automatic differentiation. She is professor of mathematical optimization in the institute for mathematics of Humboldt University of Berlin. She has been convenor of the European Women in Mathematics since July 2020.