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EDI Matters & Events

"If you think that diversity does not matter in mathematics because algebra, number theory and geometry do not depend on gender or skin colour, think again. On the one hand, there are formal proofs that diversity of orientations (including gender and ethnic diversity) can trump ability in problem solving (Scott E. Page, The Difference, 2007 and Nature, June 2018); on the other, mathematicians teach undergraduates, supervise graduate students and postdocs, perform administrative functions and participate in committees. In all of these, diversity does matter. Women and minority students benefit from having women and minority professors. An administrator who is a woman or a person of colour is more likely to be aware of the sexism and racism in the faculty ranks."

Please see below for a list of upcoming and recent events organised wholly or in part by the EDI committee.

Recent Events:

Symmetries of surfaces (International Women's Day Lecture 2024)

Prof. Tara Brendle, Glasgow University

Wednesday 28th February, 2-3 pm in MCS0001 (Scott Logic Lecture Theatre), followed by a drinks reception.

The mapping class group of a surface is its group of symmetries.  In the 1930s, Dehn demonstrated that this inherently topological object could also be understood from a purely algebraic viewpoint.  Much later, in the 1980s, N. Ivanov proved that the mapping class group could also be encoded via a combinatorial object known as the curve graph.  In this talk we will describe these groups and a “metaconjecture” about them due to Ivanov.  We will also explain work with Margalit that reveals how Ivanov-type combinatorial models can tell us about the algebraic structure of mapping class groups.

Prof. Tara Brendle, University of Glasgow, International Womens Day Invited Lecture, 2024

Lessons from the Life and Work of David Blackwell (Black History Month Lecture 2023)

Prof. Jacqueline M. Hughes-Oliver, North Carolina State University

Wednesday 8th November 2023, 2:00pm, online.

David Blackwell was a pioneer and a trailblazer. In this talk, I will share bits of his early life, to create context for the person he became. I will also briefly review some of his statistical and probability contributions. Professor Blackwell's early involvement in Statistics as a discipline provided clear evidence that everyone can make valuable contributions, no matter their societal labels. Surely, this rich heritage in Statistics has allowed us to rise above other disciplines to be a diverse community. Or has it? To help us address this question, I will review published data on the diversity of our community within the United States. I will also stress lessons gleaned from Professor Blackwell's life.

Entropy - ubiquitous, enigmatic and essential (International Women's Day 2023)

Prof. Nilanjana Datta

Thursday 4th May 2-3 pm in MCS0001, followed by a drinks reception in the flexible space in front of the Scott Logic.

Entropy, a word familiar to many of us, plays a fundamental role in several branches of science, including thermodynamics, statistical physics, information theory, cosmology and chemistry. It is also used in fields as diverse as art, religion, economics and literature. In the exciting and fast-developing field of quantum information theory, there are a plethora of different entropies. They arise naturally in the study of quantum analogues of familiar and essential tasks, e.g. the compression of digital images for efficient storage, the reliable transmission of messages over a crackling telephone line etc. In this lecture, I will give an overview of entropy in some of its many guises, focussing in particular on those which are relevant to classical and quantum information theory.

Please click here to watch. a recording of Prof. Datta's talk.


From Muhammad al-Fullani's magic squares to Gauss' quadratic residues to Langlands programme (Black History Month Talk 2022)

Dr. Lassina Dembélé

9th November 2022, 2:00pm, online and in the Scott Logic Lecture Theatre, MCS0001.

In this talk, Dr Lassina Dembélé will discuss the works of three mathematicians from three different continents and use this as a metaphor to discuss his own mathematical trajectory. This will be a colloquium talk.

Dr Lassina Dembélé received his PhD from McGill University, Canada. He held various research positions at Brandeis University, University of Calgary, Institute for Experimental Mathematics at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Dartmouth College and University of Luxembourg. He also spent time at the University of Warwick as a Marie-Curie Fellow and an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellow. He joined King’s College London in January 2022.

Please click here to watch. a recording of Dr. Dembélé's talk.


Breaking the Bias (International Women's Day 2022)

Prof. Bethany Marsh

9th March 2022, 2:00pm, online and in the Scott Logic Lecture Theatre, MCS0001.

Conway-Coxeter frieze patterns are arrangements of positive integers in an infinite strip in the plane satisfying certain combinatorial rules. The talk will include an introduction to frieze patterns and the relationship with cluster algebras, a widely-studied family of commutative algebras introduced by Fomin and Zelevinsky in 2001. I will also discuss some of my experiences as a trans woman in mathematics.

Please click here to watch a recording of Prof. Marsh's talk.


Femafricmaths : Documenting the stories of female African mathematicians

Dr. Angela Tabiri 

13th October 2021, 2:00pm, online

The Black History Month, also initially known as the African American History Month, is a month-long tradition of celebrating the achievements of the black community. It began as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. The event is celebrated every year in October in the UK.

To celebrate the contributions of black role models to the field of Mathematical Sciences, the department of Mathematical Sciences, Durham University is pleased to have Dr Angela Tabiri as our guest speaker.

Dr. Angela Tabiri is at present a Google AI postdoctoral fellow in the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Ghana. Prior to this she completed her PhD at the University of Glasgow in 2019 and a Postgraduate Diploma from ICTP, Trieste in 2015. Her research interests are in noncommutative algebra, Hopf algebra, quantum groups and quantum homogenous spaces. She teaches postgraduate courses in Mathematics for Machine Learning and Linear Algebra at AIMS, and is the lead for the Girls in Mathematical Sciences Program (GMSP), which nurtures girls from senior secondary schools in Ghana to unlock their potential in the mathematical sciences. She is also leading a unique initiative called Femafricmaths, which promotes STEM education among African females.

Please click here to watch a recording of Dr. Tabiri's talk.

Related Resources:

Discover more

Find out more about EDI initiatives at the Department of Mathematical Sciences like women in maths, the Department's EDI committee, first-generation scholars group, and decolonisation.

Women in Maths

Find out more about support for female mathematicians.
Woman working on mathematical problem

EDI Committee

Find out more about our EDI committee.

First-Generation Scholars

Read more about our First-Generation Scholars group.


Find out more about decolonisation and mathematical sciences.
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