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Winton Women Trailblazers in Mathematics Conference

Women and girls with exceptional talent were brought together to discover where studying mathematics could take them.

This week has seen the Winton Women Trailblazers in Mathematics Conference - a chance for women and girls with mathematical talent to come together and discover opportunities to study the discipline, and the career possibilities it can lead to.

The conference is part of Birkbeck’s partnership with global investment management firm Winton, which promotes excellence in the field of mathematics and supports greater diversity in the financial services sector. It forms part of the College’s wider commitment to widening access and developing talent in areas of inequality, including women in STEM subjects.

Over 100 year 12 and 13 girls with exceptional mathematical talent and from London’s most deprived boroughs joined the first day of the conference. They heard talks from women trailblazers in mathematics and graduates of the subject who have gone onto a range of interesting careers.

The conference was masterminded by Professor Sarah Hart, Head of the Department of Economics, Mathematics and Statistics at Birkbeck, who was the first woman to become Professor of Mathematics at the College.

She said: “I designed this conference to reach out to women and girls, and help them to discover the many opportunities that studying mathematics can bring. It was fantastic to be able to meet the next generation of mathematicians and I hope that the sessions leave them inspired and enthused about the possibilities that continuing a mathematical education will open to them.”

The second day, which was also supported by the London Mathematical Society, focused on final year undergraduates, postgraduates and women at an early stage in their academic career, providing them with an opportunity to meet and learn from women who are active and successful in mathematics.

A number of women mathematicians delivered papers on their work and studies, including:

  • Eva Kaufholz, speaking on the theory of the ‘bombshell mathematician,’ and the changing view of women in maths
  • Ruth Kaufman, speaking on Operational Research – ‘the invisible science’
  • Ulrica Wilson, speaking on the eventual properties of matrices.

Aziza Sentissi, who holds the Winton PhD Studentship in Mathematics at Birkbeck, was one of those in attendance.

She said: “It was a privilege to be invited to speak to inspiring women mathematicians, who, like me, are at the beginnings of their careers and are excited to find out what their next steps could be.”

Christine Simpson, Head of Academic Engagement at Winton said: “We were delighted to host the WTIM conference because we believe in the importance of gender equality in Mathematics and we want to help encourage the next generation of great female mathematicians.”

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