The conference for all 11-19 mathematics teachers

27-29 June 2019

University of Bath

Plenary speaker: Thursday

Dr Eugenia Cheng

16:00-17:00, Thursday 27 June

Inclusion-exclusion in mathematics: who stays in, who falls out, why it happens, and what we could do about it.

The question of why women are under-represented in mathematics is complex and there are no simple answers, only many contributing factors. I will focus on character traits, and argue that if we focus on this rather than gender we can have a more productive and less divisive conversation. To try and focus on characters rather than genders I will introduce gender-neutral character adjectives "ingressive" and "congressive" as a new dimension to shift our focus away from masculine and feminine. I will share my experience of teaching congressive abstract mathematics to art students, in a congressive way, and the possible effects this could have for everyone in mathematics, not just women. I will present the field of Category Theory as a particularly congressive subject area, accessible to bright high school students, and contrast it with the types of maths that are often used to push or stimulate those students. No prior knowledge will be needed.

Dr Eugenia Cheng

Dr Eugenia Cheng is a Scientist in Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Honorary Fellow of the University of Sheffield and Honorary Visiting Fellow of City University, London. Previously, she was a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) of Pure Mathematics in the School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sheffield, UK. From September 2013 to December 2014 she was a visiting Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago and has been based in Chicago ever since, though still frequently works and give talks in Europe. Her research is in category theory, mostly higher-dimensional. Some non-technical introductions to this field can be found here.

Eugenia is the author of the popular mathematics book “How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics” published by Basic Books (UK title: “Cakes, Custard and Category Theory: easy recipes for complex maths”, published by Profile.) Her second popular mathematics book is “Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of Mathematics”. This was published in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. My next book “The Art of Logic” was recently published by Profile and Basic Books in July 2018