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The Royal Society Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture 2021 given by Professor June Barrow-Green.


From medieval times to the modern day, female mathematicians, real and fictional, have been represented in a variety of ways, both in pictures and in words. These depictions allow us to learn about the women portrayed and about the attitudes towards them prevailing at the time. 

Professor June Barrow-Green, winner of the 2021 Wilkins-Bernal Medawar Medal, joined us to explore this as well as the deeper questions, like what effect do these moments captured in time have on modern-day viewers and readers? How did these representations shape the types of mathematical knowledge women were able to claim? Do they continue to marginalise the mathematical expertise of women? And how can they be used to encourage the participation of women in the mathematical community today?  

This event was the 2021 Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Prize Lecture, which was awarded to recognise excellence in a subject relating to the history of science, philosophy of science or the social function of science. Professor June Barrow-Green was given the award for her research in 19th and 20th century mathematics, notably on historical roots of modern computing, dynamical systems and the three-body problem. Her work places special emphasis on the under-representation of women in historical narratives and in contemporary mathematics. Her recent work includes diversifying the mathematical curriculum.


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