In her own words. Six mathematicians comment on their lives and careers. (English) Zbl 0741.01032

Six women comment briefly their careers as mathematicians, in their own words, in their own style. Thus, Joan S. Birman became a true mathematician when she was 41, an age at which she became suddenly aware that a woman’s role as a housekeeper is not enough for a life; hardly from constituting a handicap, the age added to her power of concentration and understanding. Deborah Haimo – attracted by Euclidean geometry, by its reasonable and logical character, impressed by the strictness and abstract beauty of its laws. Susan Landau describes the impossible choice she had to make between having a normal family – husband, children, etc. – and developing a career as a mathematician, trying to make known the complex reasons that usually prevent women from reaching the top. Bhama Srinivasan – grown up in a progressive family, who did not consider, nevertheless, that education must necessarily lead to an academic career. Vera Pless describes the difficulties she had to face for protecting – even against her family, friends, relatives – her career as a mathematician, for not forgetting everything she had been taught in school, while in the kitchen. Jean E. Taylor, whose message is that there still exists strong preconceived ideas against women as genuine scientists.
Reviewer: C. Cusmir (Iaşi)


01A80 Sociology (and profession) of mathematics
01A70 Biographies, obituaries, personalia, bibliographies