Women in Mathematics in Chile

Women in Mathematics in Chile

Celebrating the women who develop mathematics in our country, on the occasion of the International Day of Women in Mathematics..

The International Day of Women in Mathematics is celebrated on May 12, in commemoration of the birthday of Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to receive the Fields Medal in 2014. Her contributions to mathematics have transcended her passing – sadly occurred in 2017 – and her example continues to inspire women and men in the development of this discipline.

On this day, the Center for Mathematical Modeling (CMM) at the University of Chile reaffirms its commitment to overcoming gender gaps in mathematics. “I am convinced that by moving forward with commitment in our plan and working together, the CMM will promote a future with more diverse and inclusive mathematics, where we can train more women mathematicians and enhance the contribution of our researchers and professors,” says Héctor Ramírez, director of the CMM, regarding concrete actions that the center has carried out in this regard.


Women Mathematicians at CMM

The Center for Mathematical Modeling is a Center of Excellence of ANID (the Chilean state agency for science funding), whose main mission is to create new mathematics for use in understanding and solving problems that come from the productive sector, as well as from public policy and other sciences. One of its strengths is the diversity of contributions in both fundamental and applied research, and in this field it integrates female researchers from different areas. Here we highlight some of them, in their role as principal investigators of the CMM.


Salomé Martínez

Salomé Martínez

Director of the Education Laboratory of the Center for Mathematical Modeling (CMM). Mathematical Engineer from the University of Chile and PhD in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota in the United States. Professor at the University of Chile, member of the Department of Mathematical Engineering. Corresponding Member of the Chilean Academy of Sciences. Amanda Labarca Award from the University of Chile, 2020.

She has led a line of work of national and international impact on teacher training in mathematics. This work has been characterized by its innovative character, the generation of collaborative networks, and the creation of multidisciplinary teams. She has directed four Fondef projects in the area of initial teacher training, focused on developing resources, support and new training models. She has also carried out a line of collaborative projects with the Ministry of Education focused on teacher training for in-service teachers, and the development of learning resources in the school. In particular, she leads the program Suma y Sigue: matemática en línea for the professional development of in-service teachers in Basic and Secondary Education, which proposes a training model based on technology, and during 2021, she led the development of Rutas de Aprendizaje Digitales for the elective mathematics subjects in Secondary Education of the Aula 360 Program of the Ministry of Education. Her work in education has been recognized nationally and internationally, particularly through the UNESCO Chair “Teacher Education for Teaching Mathematics in the 21st Century”, and the UNESCO-Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance for Improving Teacher Effectiveness (2017-2018), awarded to the Suma y Sigue program.

His fundamental research in mathematics has been focused on the study of reaction-diffusion systems, most notably her essential contributions in the study of non-local scattering, which have impacted the development in this area and contributed to the understanding of phenomena of relevance in mathematical ecology, such as the evolution of scattering. She has published her work in leading journals in the area, producing relevant articles that have been highly cited.

Since 2012, she has participated in various university commissions that have led a transformative agenda on issues of gender equity and diversity at the University of Chile. She participates in the Adelina Gutiérrez Network of academics of the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (FCFM), a group that with visionary and sustained work over time generated relevant changes in pursuit of equal opportunities for women in the FCFM. She led the creation of the Directorate of Diversity and Gender, being its first director (2018-2019). From this institution the mainstreaming of gender equity and inclusion of diversity to all areas of the faculty is articulated, a strategic axis for its future development, contributing to university and national efforts in this area.


Maya Stein

Maya Stein

Prof. Maya Stein is the deputy director of the Center for Mathematical Modeling, and also the Academic Director of the Center. She is a full professor at the Department of Mathematical Engineering of the Universidad de Chile. She obtained her doctorate degree at the University of Hamburg, Germany.

She works in Combinatorics and Graph Theory, with a broad spectrum ranging from extremal and probabilistic graph theory and hypergraphs to algorithmic graph theory. She has more than 50 published papers, and has collaborated with more than 40 researchers from all over the world. She leads and has participated in a number of international research projects. She has supervised many postdocs and students.

Her work is internationally recognized, and she is frequently invited to speak at conferences, to serve on their program or organizing committees, and she is an editor for four international mathematical journals. She serves on the scientific committee of the Chilean Mathematical Society (Somachi), and was deputy head of the ANID grant evaluation panel for mathematics.


Hanne van den Bosch

Hanne Van Den Bosch

Prof. Hanne Van Den Bosch is a mathematician from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and holds a PhD in Physics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematical Engineering at the University of Chile, and principal investigator of the Center for Mathematical Modeling (CMM).

Her research interests are in mathematical physics, the rigorous study of equations that describe physical phenomena. In particular, she is interested in equations that describe particles or atoms in Quantum Mechanics, two-dimensional materials such as graphene, or systems of many particles interacting through gravitation.

To study them, she uses tools from different mathematical areas, such as Spectral Theory, Partial Differential Equations, and Variational Principles. With these techniques, it is possible to predict the global behavior of the physical system in question, for example, if the solutions tend to an equilibrium state, or if, on the contrary, there are vibrations that are maintained in time.

You can learn more about Prof. Van Den Bosch and her work in the interview recently published in the newsletter of the International Association for Mathematical Physics (IAMP).


Jessika Camaño

Jessika Camaño

Prof. Jessika Camaño has a degree in Mathematics (2006) from the Universidad de Concepción, a Master’s degree in Mathematics (2008) and a PhD in Applied Sciences with a major in Mathematical Engineering (2013) from the same university. She is an associate professor at the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Chile, in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Physics.

During 2008 she worked as a part-time professor at the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción. She graduated with the PhD degree in June 2013 under the guidance of Professor Rodolfo Rodríguez (University of Concepción) and Professors Ana Alonso Rodríguez and Alberto Valli (both from the University of Trento, Italy), then doing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Concepción. In March 2014 she obtained the position of Assistant Professor at the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, through a Conicyt Advanced Human Capital Insertion Project, and in 2017 the position of Assistant Professor. From 2020 to date she has been working in the category of Associate Professor.

She is Principal Investigator at the Center for Mathematical Modeling (CMM) of the University of Chile and external associate researcher at CI2MA of the University of Concepción. Her line of research is in the numerical analysis of partial differential equations.


Why do we celebrate May 12?

At the World Meeting of Women in Mathematics, (WM)², held in July 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Women’s Committee of the Iranian Mathematical Society submitted a proposal that Maryam Mirzakhani’s birthday – May 12 – be recognized to celebrate women in mathematics. The proposal was approved by the vast majority of the participants and it was decided to disseminate the initiative.

Who is Maryam Mirzakhani?

Maryam Mirzakhani was an Iranian mathematician and professor of mathematics at Stanford University in California. She was one of the world’s leading experts in geometry and dynamical systems. Her beautiful and amazing results, as well as her life and career, are an inspiration for all, women and men, to pursue their dreams in science. She tragically died of cancer in 2017 at the young age of 40.

In 2014, Maryam Mirzakhani was awarded the Fields Medal – often described as the Nobel Prize of mathematics – “for her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces,” becoming the first woman, and the first Iranian, to be recognized for her mathematical achievements with this very important mathematical award.

The Fields Medal is awarded to exceptional talents under the age of 40 once every four years by the International Mathematical Union (IMU). On the occasion, the IMU highlighted that Mirzakhani “masters a wide variety of mathematical techniques and disparate mathematical cultures, and embodies a rare combination of superb technical ability, bold ambition, far-reaching vision and deep curiosity.”

In the few interviews she gave, Mirzakhani spoke eloquently of there being “beauty and elegance” in mathematics, and of her joy in doing it.

May 12, her birthday, was chosen to celebrate Women in Mathematics in her memory.


Sources: May12 Initiative, International Mathematical Union – Fields Medal 2014

Comunicaciones CMM

Posted on May 12, 2022 in Frontpage, News