Mary Frances Winston

posted by @ulaulaman about #MaryFrancesWinston #mathematics #JudyGreen #Gottingen #FelixKlein
Mary Frances Winston was the first women mathematicians from United States who obtained the PhD in mathematics in Europe, at Göttingen, where she went in order to work with Felix Klein in the end of the 1893. She was not the only woman at Göttingen in that period: Grace Chisholm, English mathematician, the first woman admitted to Göttingen, and Margaret Maltby, a physicist from U.S.A.
At about this time, early in the 1890s, there had been discussion in Germany concerning admission of women to the universities. While the Prussian Minister of Culture was not unsympathetic to the idea, the overseer of the University at Göttingen was firmly against it. In spite of that, it was decided that foreign women should be admitted to study mathematics. Felix Klein, the mathematician responsible for bringing Chisholm and Winston to Göttingen, explained later that "Mathematics had here rendered a pioneering service to the other disciplines. With it matters are, indeed, most straightforward. In mathematics, deception as to whether real understanding is present or not, is least possible."
The story of Chisholm, Maltby and Winston has a great importance in the path towards equality of rights between men and women (not only in science), so I decided to extract from How many women mathematicians can you name? (pdf) by Judy Green the paragraphs about Mary Frances Winston:
In the summer of 1893 Klein came to the United States with mathematical models to be displayed at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago and to speak at the International Mathematical Congress held in conjunction with the Exposition. In Chicago Klein met Mary Winston, a graduate student at the University of Chicago whose undergraduate degree was from the University of Wisconsin. After teaching for two years in Milwaukee she studied with Charlotte Scott at Bryn Mawr before coming to the University of Chicago in its inaugural year, 1892. Klein agreed to sponsor her admission to the university but could not provide her with financial support.
Although Winston applied for a European fellowship from the Association for Collegiate Alumnae, she did not receive it and was able to go to Germany only because of the generosity of a woman mathematician, Christine Ladd-Franklin, who personally provided her with a $500 stipend. Mary Winston arrived in Göttingen in the fall of 1893 and waited for Klein to clear the way for her admission to the university. A few weeks after her arrival, Winston wrote her family that the people in Göttingen were very skeptical as to her chances for admission; they were wrong.
Two years after coming to Germany, Winston published a short paper in a German mathematical journal. The authors of a 1934 book about mathematics in nineteenth century America note that this particular journal contains fifteen articles published by Americans between 1893 and 1897. They then list the authors of fourteen of these articles, omitting only the name Mary Winston. Winston's paper was based on a talk she had given in the mathematics seminar at Göttingen within months of her arrival in Germany. That talk was the first such given by a woman and she wrote her family that the presentation "went off reasonably well... I do not think that anyone will draw the conclusion from it that women cannot learn Mathematics."
Upon her return to the United States in 1896, Mary Winston took a job teaching high school in Missouri. The following year she received her Ph.D. from Göttingen and became Professor of Mathematics at Kansas State Agricultural College, now Kansas State University. Three years later she resigned and married Henry Byron Newson, a mathematician at the University of Kansas. Henry Byron and Mary Winston Newson had three children born in 1901, 1903, and 1909. Mary Winston was widowed in 1910 when her youngest child was just three months old. She moved in with her parents, who were then living in Lawrence. She returned to teaching, but not to mathematical research, a few years later at Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas. Her son reported that she took that job because Topeka was within commuting distance of Lawrence and her parents could care for the children during the week. Newson remained at Washburn until 1921; she spent the rest of her career at Eureka College in Illinois, retiring in 1942.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS