Republic of Mathematics blog

These people are not male, white, bearded or bald

Posted by: Gary Ernest Davis on: June 22, 2012

The following images are of black women who are research mathematicians.

There are not enough of them, diagnosis and their talents and abilities are not recognized in the wider community to the extent they should be.

Young women, especially, young black women, who think mathematics is for old, bald white Aspergic men should think again.

So should we all.

5 Responses to "These people are not male, white, bearded or bald"

The use of the word “Aspergic” as a pejorative in poor taste? Is it clear the people in the picture aren’t “Aspergic”? Does it matter if they are or aren’t.

You see “Aspergic” as pejorative but not “old”, “bald”, “white” or “men” ?

I really like how you are challenging common misconceptions about mathematicians, and what we think they are.

[…] at them. Mathematicians come from every background and heritage. Gary followed up on this idea in another post where he highlighted some notable mathematicians who are black women. Here’s a website […]

Hi, Gary,

Those common misconceptions are part of the inspiration for my new project. I want to educate children (especially inner city children) that mathematics is part of their heritage and culture — it isn’t just a bunch of old white guys!

I came across your blog via David Wees, and as a fellow mathematics educator I thought you might be able to help in spreading the word about an educational TV show for preteens about math that we’re putting together. “The Number Hunter” is a cross between Bill Nye The Science Guy and The Crocodile Hunter — bringing math to children in an innovative, adventurous way. I’d really appreciate your help in getting the word out about the project.

I studied math education at Jacksonville University and the University of Florida. It became clear to me during my studies why we’re failing at teaching kids math. We’re teaching it all wrong! Bill Nye taught kids that science is FUN. He showed them the EXPLOSIONS first and then the kids went to school to learn WHY things exploded. Kids learn about dinosaurs and amoeba and weird ocean life to make them go “wow”. But what about math? You probably remember the dreaded worksheets. Ugh.

I’m sure you know math is much more exciting than people think. Fractal Geometry was used to create “Star Wars” backdrops, binary code was invented in Africa, The Great Pyramids and The Mona Lisa, wouldn’t exist without geometry.
Our concept is to create an exciting, web-based TV show that’s both fun and educational.

If you could consider posting about the project on your blog, I’d very much appreciate it. Also, if you’d be interested in link exchanging (either on The Number Hunter site, which is in development, or on which is a well-established site with 300,000 page views a month) please shoot me an email. We’re also always looking for input and ideas from other math educators!

Thanks in advance for your help,


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