A few weeks ago, I attended the AMS Central Fall Sectional Meeting in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It was my first time co-organizing a Special Session (so yes, I can now cross that off my bucket list). Initially, we invited a pretty diverse group of people, although a few had to cancel in the last minute. In the end, we had seven speakers, 5 of which were female (two of our male speakers dropped out, it would have been more even if they hadn’t). My co-organizer, Ursula Whitcher (now a recurring guest star in this blog), mentioned this as a fun fact to Georgia Benkart, associate secretary of the Central section. What she had to say surprised us very much.
Ken Ono (left) explains some mathematics to Dev Patel(right), before shooting a scene. Photo courtesy of Ken Ono and Pressman Films.
It is an exciting time for people who love movies and math. The Imitation Game, a biopic about Alan Turing, comes out this November, and a Ramanujan biopic, The Man Who Knew Infinity, based on the biography by Robert Kanigel, wraps filming in a couple of months. I am lucky to know the math consultant for the latter, Ken Ono, so I asked him to tell us what that experience was like.
A group of firsts. From left to right, Martin Hairer, first Fields medal from Austria, Manjul Bhargava, first medal for Canada, Park Geun-hye, first female President of South Korea, Maryam Mirzakhani, first female Fields medalist and first medalist from Iran, Ingrid Daubechies, first female president of the International Mathematical Union, and Artur Avila, first medalist from Brazil (and all of Latin America). Photo courtesy of Alina Bucur.
As has been widely disseminated in all sorts of media outlets this past week, the Fields Medals were announced at the International Congress of Mathematicians on August 13. My fellow AMS blogger Brie Finegold has rounded up many of the blogs and articles on the topic in a recent blog post of her own, and I recommend this as a place to catch up with all the media buzz. A lot of (rightfully earned) attention has been given to the fact that Maryam Mirzakhani is the first woman to earn this honor. A little less attention has been paid to the fact that all of the awardees are the first in their country of origin to receive the award. It is also the first time that anyone from Latin America has won.