School of Mathematics & Physics, University of Lincoln
Recall that the 1st annual Charlotte Scott lecture in mathematics will be given by Professor Natasha Maurits (University of Groningen, Netherlands) on Monday 30 January at 6 pm in the Stephen Langton Lecture Theatre, Brayford Pool Campus, University of Lincoln. See the details and booking info at the link provided.
Here is a short compilation of information about Charlotte Scott, in whose name this series of lectures is named.
Charlotte Scott (1858–1931) was a British mathematician born in Lincoln, UK. She was a specialist in algebra, a student of Arthur Cayley at Cambridge University, but made her career in the USA at Bryn Mawr College, where she was the first Head of Mathematics. She was recognized as one of the best American mathematicians of that time; her research papers were among the first mathematical papers written in USA (by any author, not just women) to be recognised in Europe.
Charlotte Scott was influential in the development of American mathematics, including the mathematical education of women. She was the first woman to sit on the Council of the American Mathematical Society in 1894, and in 1906 Scott served as Vice-President of the American Mathematical Society. Charlotte Scott also played an important role in changing the rules for women education in UK.
At the time of Charlotte Scott’s early years, there were almost no higher education opportunities for women. In fact, there were virtually no secondary schools open to women. It was her father who encouraged his daughters’ development, including use of mathematical games for children. He arranged private tutoring for Charlotte, which enabled her at 18 years of age to win a scholarship at Girton College, which later became part of Cambridge University.
In Cambridge she sat the famous Tripos exams in mathematics in 1880. At that time this was only allowed for women under a special permission, without proper recognition, and no degrees were awarded to women. She did as well as the eighths man in the whole university. But being a female, she could not be present at the awards ceremony, and her name was not mentioned. It was at that moment that the famous rebellious shouting occurred, when the young male undergraduates started shouting “Scott of Girton!” thus demanding her name to be read. The publicity resulting from this incident contributed to the pressure on Cambridge University, so that a year later its resident female students were allowed to sit examinations as a matter of policy and not as a special privilege.
However, it was much later that female students were allowed to properly graduate from Cambridge, or obtain higher degrees. So when Charlotte Scott did her post-graduate studies with Arthur Cayley in Cambridge, she obtained her BSc (1882) and doctorate (1885) degrees from the University of London.