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Women and Numbers by Teri Perl Essay

For many years, society has presented women to be sweet and man to be tough. Many have encouraged sexist depiction of the sexual category. In addition, this has led to typecasts asserting that girls or women are too emotional and too soft for math and science careers. This is a book that presents women biographies from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who had an interest in the mathematics subject and they pursued their interests. Different chapters in this book discuss different mathematical actions.

A very simple book for the upper-elementary and middle school grades that brings to life the stories of mathematician women from the 19th and 20th centuries. Each biography is followed by a discovery activity. Example, in one of Mary Boole’s numerous accomplishments she staggered into the creation of string art; the associated discovery activity shows how students can create their own string art designs. The goal of the editor is commendable: to hearten more girls into mathematics and to ignite interest for the field in all students.

The write-ups are a pleasure to read. They each give a very individual and encircling picture of the whole woman — as mathematician, teacher, mother, wife, or partner. In each, it exemplifies the path they followed, not just career wise but also personally. The impediments of gender and racial prejudice that some of the women faced in following a mathematical career are brilliantly portrayed. An example is Lenore Blum who was not accepted to MIT for her undergraduate degree because there were only 20 dormitory beds available for women.

Ideas from the book Each woman’s mathematical contributions are explained in a language that are easily understandable by a high school or college student interested in what a mathematics career may be like. The three things that all these women had that they excelled in is research, teaching, and service. Research They explored different teaching methods that would be easier to understand and make mathematical solving simpler. With this in mind they attracted the female gender to there classrooms who excelled in the mathematics fields.

Teaching Most of the women mentioned in this book climbed to positions such as head of department chair and a good number were involved in developing policies for mathematics departments. Majority of them were supporters for women, blacks, minorities of any kind. Unambiguously, one is left with the certainty that women have done, can do, and will continue to do mathematics. Service Though most of the women were very successful they had a common thread running through the stories of these women, which was they doubted themselves.

The service they provided as mathematicians was impeccable despite having to deal with family issues, social stigma, and several other factors that were against them as mathematician women. Themes used Since mathematics is a hard subject to grasp, teaching using a thematic method is a great way to cover a range of topics associated to a particular theme. In this book Women and numbers: Lives of Women Mathematicians plus Discovery Activities by Teri Perl, mentions several themes used by the different women mathematicians. Abstract Algebra An example is Emmy who is well known for being an abstract algebraist.

Her focus was on differential and algebraic invariants; the theory of mathematical rings; and non-commutative algebra, linear transformations, and commutative number fields. The main goal of this area is to demonstrate that an invariant (terms that remain unvarying under a group of alteration) can be written as the sum of squares of other numbers. It also wants to show that any two invariants remain invariant. Model theory and differential fields In this theme of model theory and differential fields (logic and algebra), is a theory of calculation and convolution over the real numbers, has focuses on amalgamation of seemingly distinct areas.

Sine Sonya Kovalevsky developed this theme one night as she was studying under the covers of her blanket, because the father did not approve her interest in algebra and geometry. To make logic of some of the derivations, she alternated “a chord for the mysterious sine,” and everything made sense for small angles. Controversies in math Arguments over the technique mathematics is taught and presented in textbooks will continue as long as schools and teachers have the aptitude to choose their own curricula and teaching attitude. Although there are many variables that influence the success of a student, the main influence is the teacher.

Depending on how well the teacher formulates the method to use on teaching mathematics will depend on how fast the students will grasp the information. In this book, the only controversy that is on the spotlight is the issue of gender and mathematics. Since the beginning of times, the female gender has been considered to be weaker than the male counterpart and it is not different in the mathematics world. Therefore, every theory that the female gender formulated had to be questioned twice and was criticized before it became published. Conclusion

The result is a valuable book for and about women in mathematics at a level appropriate for high school and early college students that celebrates the variety present in the community of women mathematicians. My opinion might be biased being that am a woman, but the book presented challenges that women go through when they are treated as minority when it comes to doing certain things. This book was an encouragement to the girls in their time when gender really mattered in the society and girls were considered inferior to the male gender.

The high school girls who believed that math was not for the female gender could now relate to the five women and relate to them. In addition, this has been discussed in the book, how the number of girls doing mathematics increased and they all did well despite what society expected of them. The 9 women were a role model to the high school students especially the female gender. References Perl, T,. (1993). Women and Numbers: Lives of Women Mathematicians plus Discovery Activities. San Carlos, CA: Wide World Publishing/Tetra.

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