29 August, 2018 - Minister Mitchell O’Connor addresses delegates at the 8th annual Women in Mathematics Day, Ireland

The Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., today Wednesday 29th August, 2018 addressed attendees at the Women in Mathematics Day Ireland held by the UCD School of Mathematics & Statistics.

Speaking at the event, Minister Mitchell O’Connor stated, “Now in its 8th year, the Women in Mathematics Day is an innovative forum for women to present their achievements, provide advice and support to others, and inspire the next generation of female mathematicians.”

Participants of the conference this year included Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President of Research, Innovation and Impact, and Professor of Mathematics at Ulster University, Sally McClean. The conference also celebrated the members of the 2018 Irish team that competed in the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad to which the Minister applauded their achievements, saying, “I would like to congratulate you on your successes during the Olympiad and I hope that you passion for mathematics is a lifelong one. You all are truly an inspiration to your peers and everyone here today.”

She also paid tribute to Dr Sheila Tinney, who was being celebrated at this year’s conference. Dr Tinney was the first Irish woman to receive a PhD in Mathematics, and she was one of the first four women elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy in 1949. A former UCD lecturer, Dr Sheila Tinney will have a plaque erected commemorating her achievements in the UCD College of Science and a print of her portrait by Vera Klute will hang as a role model for future mathematics students. The Minister noted that “In pushing for gender equality, we look for role models, and it is wonderful to celebrate one so close to home. I would think that she would be proud of the women here today, gathered to support and inspire each other to drive the mathematical sciences in Ireland forward.”

The Women in Mathematics Day Ireland is organised by the School of Mathematics and Statistics, University College Dublin. The aim of the conference is to advance gender equity in the mathematical sciences in Ireland.

 

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

 

The Women in Mathematics Day Ireland has become an annual conference since its inauguration in 2010. The conference is a multi-faceted event that includes plenary talks, academic and industrial research talks, poster sessions for participants, panel sessions on gender equity, and thematic events. This year’s conference organisers are two Assistant Professors in the UCD School of Mathematics & Statistics: Dr Isabella Gollini and Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin who are working with a committee of academic staff from the UCD School of Mathematics & Statistics.

 

The aim of the conference is to advance gender equity in the mathematical sciences in Ireland, while also being a forum to encourage, support, and inspire women at all stages of their education and careers. Talks and poster presentations will be given by women and men from both academia and industry. The Women in Mathematics Day Ireland is sponsored by the Irish Statistical Association, Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Mathematical Society and Women in Technology and Science. The conference also featured talks by secondary school students who represented Ireland at the International Mathematical Olympiads and a celebration of the members of the Irish team that participated in the 2018 European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad: JuHyun Ahn, Tianyiwa Xie, Laura Cosgrave and Yixin Huang, with support from Mayya Golytsina (Deputy Leader, UCD) and Nina Snigireva (Leader, UCD).

 

A centrepiece of this year’s event is the centenary of the birth of Dr Sheila Tinney. Sheila Tinney (née Power) attended the Dominican College, Taylor's Hill, Galway, and then went to St Mary's Dominican Convent, Cabra, Dublin, where she took her leaving certificate examinations in 1935.

 

She was one of only eight girls in the country to take honours mathematics. She studied mathematics, first in UCG for a year, then in UCD, from where she graduated with a first-class degree in mathematical science in 1938, and an MA in 1939. She was awarded an NUI travelling studentship prize and attended the University of Edinburgh, where she became the first Irish woman to receive a PhD in Mathematics.  In 1941, at the age of 23, she was appointed to an assistant lectureship in UCD, and was promoted to statutory lecturer in 1945. From September 1948 to June 1949 she took a leave of absence to go on a fellowship to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where colleagues included Albert Einstein and Freeman Dyson She was the first female fellow of the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies and was one of the first four women to be admitted to the Royal Irish Academy. She became an associate professor in mathematical physics in UCD in 1966, retiring in 1978.