Living Scientist or Mathematician
Research Project Digital Presentation
You may work alone or with at most two other people. Have your person
approved by Dr. Sarah - each person/group must work on a different
Choose a living person who has significant mathematics or science
in their background
and at least one published technical mathematics or scientific work
to their name.
- Find a picture of your scientist or
mathematician to show the class during your
- Find a problem that the person has worked on.
Research the history of that problem to share and be sure to include at least
one reference to a technical work.
- How many published works can you find by the person in library databases,
arXiv.org and other sources? Summarize what you found.
- Include quotes by the scientist or
mathematician, when possible, which are put into
context by the presenter(s).
- Address the influences that led the person to becoming a scientist or
mathematician, by answering some (or all, if possible) of the following:
Did the person have support from family and society?
Why did the person become a scientist or mathematician?
What kind of barriers did the person face while becoming a scientist or
What kind of gender, racial, multicultural/ethnic, diversity (broadly
defined) issues are in this scientist or mathematician's experiences?
Be sure to also address whether the person is married and has a family, and
whether any spouse or partner is also a scientist or
- Scientific, Statistical or Mathematical Style:
Address as many of the following as possible:
How does the person describe the process of doing research? Do you
think it is most similar to the scientific method, statistical modes of
thought, or mathematical inquiry?
How does the person
get the flashes of insight that he or she needs to do research?
How does the person's
mind work? Does the person have a photographic memory? Is the person
really good with numbers? Is the person good at visualization?
Does the scientist or mathematician
often collaborate (ie write papers with other scientists or
mathematicians) or instead mostly work alone?
How does the person describe what mathematics or science
is and/or where it comes from?
Aim for a 10 minute presentation.
Your project grade will be based on your peer review of your and other
presentations, the clarity and depth of your
responses and explanations, the flow of your digital presentation,
which must be mostly in your own words,
and the quality of your references, so
you must choose a scientist or mathematician who has answered many
of the above questions in interviews [or will respond to an interview
request from you]. Inferences to answer some of the questions are fine
as long as your method of deduction for the inference is explained.
It is fine if you cannot answer all of the questions, but you should
answer most of them.
In addition, turn in a typed reference list in a consistent reference
Finding Living Researchers
Achievement: The Hall of Science
ACM A Day
in the Life of...
Chronological Index of Women Mathematicians
Clay Research Award
Conversations with History - Science
MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive:
Mathematicians born from 1940 to the present
Mathematicians of the African Diaspora
Statisticians in the News
Women of NASA
I encourage you to look around using diverse searches and references
and to find people who may not be listed
in the places you might expect. For example:
A number of the executives at google have significant science or
mathematics in their backgrounds.
Jeff Westbrook, a writer for Futurama and The Simpsons
has published journal articles in theoretical computer science and
his interview comments about mathematics and computer science are
available, as have other writers like
a physicist and astronomer, is
the creator of MathWorld and works at Wolfram research
You may also research a mathematician, statistician,
or scientist who works on campus
as long as they are willing to answer the above questions.