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 person. 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.
  1. Find a picture of your scientist or mathematician to show the class during your presentation.
  2. 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.
  3. How many published works can you find by the person in library databases, and other sources? Summarize what you found.
  4. Include quotes by the scientist or mathematician, when possible, which are put into context by the presenter(s).
  5. 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 mathematician?
    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 mathematician.
  6. 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 formatting style.

Finding Living Researchers

  • Academy of Achievement: The Hall of Science
  • ACM A Day in the Life of...
  • Agnes Scott Chronological Index of Women Mathematicians
  • Animal Earthquake Researcher Interviews
  • Clay Research Award Winners
  • Conversations with History - Science
  • Faces of Science
  • Fields Medal Winners
  • MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive: Mathematicians born from 1940 to the present
  • Mathematicians of the African Diaspora
  • Nobel Laureates
  • Statisticians in the News
  • Women of NASA Profiles

    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 David X. Cohen.
  • Eric Weisstein, 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.