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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Here’s the proof that math is hot these days

Follow on Twitter as @dominicbasulto
writes, "Math – the m in STEM – is probably the least glamorous of all the STEM fields. Go ahead – just try to name one celebrity mathematician (Russell Crowe as Princeton math legend John Nash in A Beautiful Mind doesn’t count)."

But all that could be changing.

Maryam Mirzakhani wins 2014 Fields medal - first woman to do so 

The big news, of course, is that the Fields Medal – generally considered to be the Nobel Prize of mathematics – was recently awarded for the first time in its nearly 80-year history to a woman. The 37-year-old Iranian-born Maryam Mirzakhani of Stanford could do for mathematics what astronaut Sally Ride did for space travel: give young girls a role model for someone they’d like to be when they grow up. 

“This is a great honor. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians, ” Mirzakhani noted in a Stanford University news release. “I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in coming years.” 

And that’s huge. After all, part of the narrative about the STEM profession is that women simply lack the types of role models and mentors to help them stay in the field. Having someone like Mirzakhani win the Fields Medal could draw attention to other top female mathematicians in the field and give a new boost to all the types of grassroots initiatives that have sprung up recently to get more young kids — especially kids from underrepresented backgrounds — interested in math.


And there’s another reason why mathematics suddenly seems hotter than ever — and that has to do with the rising salaries and career prospects of math graduates. A recent career survey from CareerCast named mathematician as the “most desirable job in the world.” The reason, quite simply, is that all the hot areas of the technology industry – from big data to computer search algorithms – draw intensely on the field of mathematics. According to CareerCast, mathematicians now can expect a median income of over $100,000. Jobs for mathematicians are expected to grow at a rate of 23 percent by 2022.
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Source: Washington Post (blog) and tywebbOOOOO's Channel (YouTube).

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