June Barrow-Green, Professor of History of Mathematics, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics will give an inaugural lecture on Sofia Kovalevskaya: “He Denies the Very Existence of a Woman Mathematician

The quote is from the famous novelist, George Eliot, when she introduced the Russian mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya to the evolutionary philosopher Herbert Spencer in 1869. Taking this as her cue, Professor June Barrow Green will look at the struggle for women mathematicians to gain equality.

June Barrow Green is Professor of History of Mathematics in The Open University’s Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. She began studying when she did foundation courses in arts and in mathematics at the Open University. She went on to King’s College, London to do degrees in mathematics before returning to The Open University full time to do her PhD.

In “He denies the very existence of a woman mathematician”,June will trace the history of women mathematicians from Hypatia, who was murdered by a religious mob in 415 CE, to Maryam Mirzakhani who, in 2014, was the first woman to win a Fields medal, the mathematics equivalent to a Nobel Prize.