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UC San Diego Mathematician's Contributions Add Up to Fellowship in New Program Honoring Women

February 7, 2018
By Cynthia Dillon

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Emerita Professor Linda Rothschild. Photo courtesy of Linda Rothschild

The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) has launched a new fellows program, and Department of Mathematics’ Linda Rothschild is among the first class of members. Rothschild, emerita faculty who specializes in differential equations and complex variables, was honored along with 31 other new AWM fellows, including UC San Diego School of Medicine’s Jill Mesirov. Each fellow was selected for her or his long and lasting commitment to supporting women and their advancement in the field of mathematical sciences. A special induction for the first class of fellows occurred during the annual Joint Mathematics Meetings recently held in San Diego.  

Of importance in the fellowship selection was consistency with AWM’s mission to encourage women and girls to study and to work professionally in the mathematical sciences. The new fellows program is also intended to promote equal opportunity and the equal treatment of women and girls in the field.

According to Rothschild, until the 1970s, few of the top mathematics departments in the country included even one female faculty member. In fact, she explained that one of the highest ranking department’s official policy was not to consider women for admission as graduate students in math. To change such practices, Rothschild set to work in the late 1960s with a small group of women organizers to form the AWM. They persisted in establishing the organization, despite disapproval from many prominent male mathematicians at that time.

“I am proud of the role that AWM has played in changing the profession and in making women feel that they can have successful careers in mathematics,” said Rothschild. “Of course, I am also proud of my research accomplishments during my career at UC San Diego and other universities.”

Among her many accomplishments and distinctions, Rothschild earned her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD at MIT. She won the Bergman Prize in 2003, was elected to AAAS in 2005, served as an ICM speaker in 2006, and served as vice-chair for graduate affairs in the mathematics department from 2001 to 2005. Rothschild participated on numerous committees and held offices at the National Sciences Foundation, the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of American and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute.

With a true commitment to equal treatment of women and girls in the mathematical sciences, as well as equal treatment of all in the field, the AWM took special steps to avoid the historical racial inequities within the field that overlooked many mathematicians from underrepresented groups.

“While this list of fellows includes only a small number of deserving individuals, we hope that the mathematical community will nominate worthy candidates in the coming years, so that we can recognize the amazing contributions of so many people on behalf of the advancement of women and girls in the field of mathematics,” stated the AWM Executive Committee in a news release.

A new class of AWM Fellows will be announced each January at the JMM. The nomination process and deadlines for the 2019 class are underway.

The Department of Mathematics at UC San Diego ranks highly on the National Research Council’s listing of top graduate programs in the country. The department is part of UC San Diego’s Division of Physical Sciences, which is committed to the values of equity, diversity and inclusion within all of its programs and practices.

Physical Sciences

News Contact

Cynthia Dillon
cdillon@ucsd.edu
(858) 822-0142