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Friday, May 12, 2017

Mothers in Mathematics

Happy Mother's Day From the Center of Math!

No amount of mathematical talent in someone's nature can make them into a great mathematician, and in this article, we will acknowledge a mother behind a great mathematician who nurtured her son and sacrificed her own career to give him the best opportunity to succeed. 

Read about an important mother in mathematics after the break.

If you're hip on the mathematical street news, you have probably heard of Grigori Perelman. To briefly name his accomplishments would be tough to do, but by far his most important contribution to mathematics was his proof of the Poincare Conjecture. You should read into this topological facet on your own time, but what is important is that it was such an enigma in the math world that a one million dollar bounty was promised for whoever could solve it. But when Grigori proved that the conjecture was indeed a fact, he turned down the money, stating that he solved it because he loved math, not because he wanted the money. This admiration for mathematical truth had to be cultivated somewhere, and we need to look no further than his own mother. 

Lubov Lvovna was in the process of completing her collegiate mathematics career when she began expecting a baby, so she pivoted to teaching math at  a technical institute. As a young child, Grigori was an excellent student in math, and his mother recognized this talent and set him up in various math clubs in St. Petersburg.  Not only did Lubov challenge Grigori with math and logic puzzles constantly, but she also provided a window into a recreational world, as his personal violin and tennis tutor. 

Grigori was an awkward kid, but Lubov became his mentor and good friend, leading him to excellence in the future. 

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