May 20, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

The Importance of LGBTQ+ Mathematicians in Shaping Math Education

When you first read the title, you probably found it strange. Why does it matter if a mathematician is in the LGBTQ community and how can this shape math education? But, if you stop to think about it, STEM subjects including mathematics have typically been seen as male and heterosexual-dominated fields. In math education, there hasn’t always been a community for sexual or gender minorities. 

Even though this was the case before, it is certainly changed today. Some of the most famous mathematicians in the world are part of this community, and their stories are taught in college, as well as university. Today, we have organizations such as LGBTQ+ STEM and 500 Queer Scientists with some of the most important mathematicians in the world, showing that this group has done wonders in shaping teaching and education in their chosen subject. 

https://unsplash.com/photos/f1YfrZ1o2r8

Not Everyone is Great at Math

Mathematics is something that is learned, but there’s no doubt that there are people who are more talented in it than others. This has been a moving force for mathematicians while for other students, it’s one of the biggest challenges while they study. For the latter, it’s now easy to find math answers online. Plainmath is the number one source for examples of math questions and answers, a place where you can go to get assistance with the math that’s troubling you. 

Having some help should allow you to spend more time on things you love and get the much-needed grades. The people we’ll talk about in our list not only excelled in math when they studied, but they transformed education of the past and brought on amazing solutions in the field. 

The Top LGBTQ Mathematicians in the World

Some gay mathematicians have been celebrated throughout the history. Now that we live in a more inclusive world, they are praised more than ever. Let’s take a look at the top names in the world of math. 

Autumn Kent

Autumn Kent is a professor of Mathematics currently working at the University of Wisconsin. She’s a specialist in two fields – geometry and topology. In his career, Kent has published 20 papers and received a Simons Fellowship reward in 2019 (among many others). 

Autumn is a pansexual transwoman and an active member of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2019, this mathematician organized the LG&TBQ+ conference aimed to foster a better collaboration between mathematicians working in topology, geometry, and dynamical systems. 

Georg Joachim von Lauchen Rheticus

If we look at the history of the subject, this name is worth one of the highest spots in any list. Georg was the only student of Copernicus and a person instrumental in creating the ‘De Revolutionibus’. He had several additions including narrations, sine and cosine tables published in this piece. 

Back in the time, Georg was one of the first mathematicians who studied mapping with instruments. He learned how to predict the time of sunrise when a very few people knew how to do this. 

Unfortunately, Georg lived in a different time. In 1551, Leipzig forced him into exile because of a homosexual affair. He moved to Krakow where he continued his work on instruments for astronomical observation. After his death, George’s student published his ‘Science of Triangles’, a book with trigonometric tables that was extremely accurate for its time, and continued to be used in the early 20th century. 

Juliette Bruce

Juliette is a mathematician who specializes in geometry, arithmetic geometry, and commutative algebra. She got her PhD from the University of Wisconsin and soon after this, moved to UC, Berkley. Today, Juliette works as an NSF Postdoctoral fellow. 

Juliette is a very passionate member of the LGBTQ+ community. She’s organized various seminars and conferences and openly celebrated the contributions of sexual and gender minorities in her field. 

Ron Buckmire

Born in Grenada and currently living in the US, Ron uses non-standard finite difference and studies a variety of real-world problems. He’s a leading LGBTQ+ civil rights activist who organized many events. He also organized a mailing list that, soon after, led to the development of an organization for LGBTQ+ mathematicians called Spectra. 

Ron studied applied mathematics at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 2011, Ron was named ‘LGBT Educator of the Year’ by Out to Innovate and is currently the Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs and a professor at the LA Occidental College. 

Wrapping Up

Members of the LGBTQ+ community weren’t free to form minority groups and were discriminated in the past. Today, they are free to tell who they are, organize events, and show the world how amazing the experts in the field of mathematics from the community have been. 

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