Olga Taussky Todd Celebration
of Careers in Mathematics for Women

July 16-18, 1999

MSRI, Berkeley, California

Photo of Olga Taussky Todd

When. The Celebration was held July 16-18, 1999, at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in Berkeley, California. The conference wasorganized by the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) with base funding from the National Security Agency (NSA); additional support was provided by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the U.S. Department of Energy. The scientific community was invited to talks.

Related Links.

Format. Featured lectures showcased the research of outstanding women in mathematics. Talks and discussions by established mathematicians with careers in government, business, industry and academia focused on contemporary issues of concern to young women, highlighting non-traditional career paths for mathematicians. The primary goals of the celebration were to assist, encourage, and inspire the graduate student and recent Ph.D. participants, to provide a forum for networking between mathematicians at different career stages, and to promote the achievements of women in mathematics. Senior investigators provided role models and offered mentoring for the beginning women mathematicians. The graduate students and recent Ph.D.'s who participated were to find in the legacy of Olga Taussky Todd a realistic model and worthy goals for their lives.

Other Activities. Each of the postdoc and graduate student participants at the conference had a mentor to provide individual career guidance. Various careers available to beginning mathematicians are a focus of the conference, and many of the plenary speakers mentioned some aspects of their employment. Two presentations were planned to provide specific career information and advice: Krystyna Kuperberg and Sylvia Wiegand each organized an activity.

A Symposium titled "The Many Careers of Olga Taussky" brought together biographical aspects of Taussky's varied employments with career information. Mary Ann McLoughlin and Edith Luchins organized the symposium which traced Taussky-Todd's career pattern and provided thumbnail descriptions of her various types of work given by persons who are now involved at that site, or, in some cases, who worked with Taussky, or by a biographer. Then, relative to each job, there was a brief description of the opportunities for mathematicians today with that employer.

Final Program. (As of July 1, 1999.)

Friday, July 16, 1999
9:15am - 9:30am Welcome & Announcements
9:30am - 10:15am Helen Shapiro, Swarthmore College
"Numbers, Matrices, and Commutativity"
10:15am - 10:30am Coffee Break
10:30am - 11:30am

Poster Session I

Funded participants will present a poster on their research at one of three poster sessions.

Elizabeth S. Allman, University of North Carolina-Asheville
"Subgroup Separability and Hyperbolic 3-manifolds"
Cheryl Grood, Swarthmore College
"Centralizer Algebras of SO(2n, C)"
Rachel W. Hall, Pennsylvania State University
"Hecke C*-Algebras"
Deborah Heicklen, University of California, Berkeley
"Discretizing randomly perturbed dynamical systems"
Sanjukta Hota, Columbia State Community College
"A Mathematical Model for Carbon Dioxide Exchange during Mechanical Ventilation with Tracheal Gas Insufflation (TGI)"
Chris Hurlburt, University of New Mexico
"Differential Modular Forms"
Megan Kerr, Wellesley College
"New Homogeneous Einstein Metrics of Negative Ricci Curvature"
Jing-Rebecca Li, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"Vector ADI: A Low Rank Right Hand Side Lyapunov Equation Solver, with Applications to Model Reduction"
Moira A. McDermott, Gustavus Adolphus College
"Tight closure and singularity theory"
Regan E. Murray, University of Arizona
"Modeling Reaction Zone Dynamics of the Bioremediation Equations"
Vanessa Robins, University of Colorado at Boulder
"Computational topology with applications to fractal geometry"
Masha Sosonkina, University of Minnesota-Duluth
"Preconditioning strategies for linear systems arising in tire design"
Lesley Ward, Harvey Mudd College
"Brownian motion and the shape of a region's boundary"

11:30am - 12:15pm Lisa R. Goldberg, BARRA, Inc.
"Portfolio Risk: Diversification in Volatile Markets"
12:15pm - 2:00pm


Various lunch items (a la carte) will be available for purchase on Friday. MSRI also has a full kitchen that the attendees will have access to during the conference.

2:00pm - 2:45pm Fern Y. Hunt, National Institute of Standards and Technology
"Measurement Science and Measure Theory: A Mathematician at NIST today"
2:45pm - 3:00pm Coffee Break
3:00pm - 4:00pm

Poster Session II

Funded participants will present a poster on their research at one of three poster sessions.

Catherine Bénéteau, Seton Hall University [Unable to attend.]
"A Fatou-type Theorem for Functions with Growth Restrictions"
Andrea Codd, University of Colorado at Boulder
"Elasticity - Fluid Coupled Systems"
Sylvia Cook, The University of Iowa
"Two Star-Operations and Their Induced Lattices"
Sarah J. Greenwald, Appalachian State University
"Diameters of Spherical Alexandrov Spaces and Constant Curvature One Orbifolds"
Annela Kelly, Northeast Louisiana University
"Analytic measures"
Tanya L. Leise, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology
"Dynamically accelerating cracks along a bimaterial interface"
Helen Moore, Stanford University/Bowdoin College
"Gauss Map Omissions of Minimal Surfaces"
Susan Morey, Southwest Texas State University
"Associated primes and ideals of graphs"
Julianne Rainbolt, Saint Louis University
"Extensions of Periodic Linear Groups"
Karen L. Shuman, Dartmouth College
"Signal Processing with the Jacobi Group"
Jenny Switkes, Claremont Graduate University
"Models of Coevolutionary Interaction"
Julia M. Wilson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
"Non-uniqueness of boundaries of CAT(0) groups"
Golbon Zakeri, Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
"You too can optimize using a metacomputer"

4:00pm - 4:45pm Linda R. Petzold, University of California, Santa Barbara
"Math, with an Attitude"
4:45pm - 4:55pm Break
4:55pm - 6:10pm

Panel: "Issues and Inside Information for women in mathematics"

Organizer: Sylvia M. Wiegand, University of Nebraska


  • Ellen Kirkman, Wake Forest University
  • Maria Klawe, University of British Columbia
  • Susan Morey, Southwest Texas State University
  • Claudia Polini, Hope College
  • Jean Taylor, Rutgers University
6:30pm Buffet Reception

Biographical Remarks
Richard Varga, Kent State University
"Remembrances of Olga Taussky Todd, and her impact on me and on her many students"

Plus a few comments by Jack Todd, Professor Emeritus, California Institute of Technology

Saturday, July 17, 1999
9:15am - 10:00am Cathleen Synge Morawetz, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University
"Problems, including mathematical problems, from my early years"
10:00am - 10:15am Coffee Break
10:15am - 11:15am

Poster Session III

Funded participants will present a poster on their research at one of three poster sessions.

Elizabeth A. Arnold, University of Maryland, College Park
"Using Hilbert Lucky Primes to Compute Gröbner Bases"
Lora Billings, University of Delaware
"Newton's Method and Chaotic Attractors"
Sharon Frechette, Wellesley College
"Hecke Structure of Spaces of Modular Forms"
Weiqing Gu, Harvey Mudd College
"Volume-Preserving Great Circle Flows on the 3-Sphere"
Lois Kailhofer, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
"A Classification of Inverse Limit Spaces with Periodic Critical Points"
Sandra Kingan, Trinity College, D.C.
"Structural Results for Matroids"
Gema A. Mercado, University of Arizona
"Formation of Hotspots and Dynamics of the Electric Field in Microwave Heating"
Dorina Mitrea, University of Missouri-Columbia
"The transmission problem for multilayered anisotropic elastic bodies with rough interfaces"
Nilima Nigam, Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, University of Minnesota
"Variational methods for some problems exterior to a thin domain"
Ruth Pfeiffer, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health
"Some Problems for Stochastic Processes with Hysteresis"
Claudia Polini, Hope College
"Resolution of Singularities"
Victoria Rayskin, University of Texas at Austin
"Degenerate Homoclinic Crossings"

11:15am - 12:00pm Lani Wu, Microsoft Corporation
"Following my interest"
12:00pm - 1:45pm


Lunch boxes will be provided for the workshoppers (graduate students, recent Ph.D.'s) and their mentors to facilitate communication. Lunch will be provided to other participants within availability.

1:45pm - 3:00pm

Symposium: "The Many Careers of Olga Taussky"


  • Mary Ann McLoughlin, The College of Saint Rose
  • Edith Luchins, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


  • Isabel Beichel, National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Christa Binder, Vienna University of Technology
  • Mary Gray, American University
  • Helen Grundman, Bryn Mawr College
  • Svetlana Katok, Pennsylvania State University
  • Alice T. Schafer, Wellesley College
  • Helene Shapiro, Swarthmore College
3:00pm - 3:20pm Coffee Break
3:20pm - 4:05pm Evelyn Boyd Granville, Professor Emerita, California State University, Los Angeles
"Looking Back …Looking Ahead"
4:05pm - 4:15pm Break
4:15pm - 5:00pm Diane Lambert, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies
"Statistics: Is it Really A Mathematical Science?"
5:00pm Dinner (attendees will be on their own)

Sunday, July 18, 1999
9:00am - 9:45am Margaret H. Wright, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies
"A Selection of Mathematical Experiences"
9:45am - 10:00am Coffee Break
10:00am - 10:45am Christa Binder, Vienna University of Technology
"Fräulein Dr. Taussky in Vienna and Göttingen"
10:55am - 12:25pm

Panel: "Finding a Traditional or Nontraditional Job and Growing in It"

Organizer: Krystyna Kuperberg, Auburn University


  • Karen M. Brucks, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Barbara S. Deuink, National Security Agency
  • Barbara B. Flinn, National Security Agency
  • Lisa R. Goldberg, BARRA, Inc.
  • Sarah Holte, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Fern Y. Hunt, National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Linda R. Petzold, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Margaret H. Wright, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies

AWM is grateful to MSRI and their staff for all their efforts on behalf of the Olga Taussky Todd Celebration of Careers in Mathematics for Women.

AWM also wishes to thank all the individuals who participated in the Celebration including the speakers, the panelists and the mentors.

AWM is grateful to the National Security Agency (NSA) for the initial base support and to the Department of Energy (DOE), the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for their additional support.

The organizers for the conference included:

  • Bettye Anne Case, Florida State University (Chair)
  • Sue Geller, Texas A&M University
  • Carolyn Gordon, Dartmouth College
  • Dianne O'Leary, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Gail Ratcliff, University of Missouri, St. Louis
  • Jean Taylor, Rutgers University
  • Sylvia M. Wiegand, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

The organizers thank those who joined them in serving on committees for the conference: Isabel Beichl, Mary Ellen Boch, Jane Cullum, Sharon Frechette, Jenny Harrison, Linda Keen, Krystyna Kuperberg, Edith Luchins, Mary Ann McLoughlin, Carolyn R. Mahoney, Linda P. Rothschild, Janice B. Walker.

The initial planning was assisted by: Isabel Beichl, Lynne Billard, Lenore Blum, Mary Ellen Bock, Sun-Yung Alice Chang, Jane Cullum, Susan C. Geller, Carolyn S. Gordon, Mary W. Gray, Jenny Harrison, Gloria Hewitt, Linda Keen, Krystyna M. Kuperberg, Edith Luchins, Carolyn R. Mahoney, Linda P. Rothschild, Alice T. Schafer, Bhama Srinivasan, Chuu-Lian Terng, Janice B. Walker, Carol Wood.

Questions? Contact the AWM at 301-405-7892 or by email at awm@awm-math.org

Links for more information about Olga Taussky Todd.

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