CLEMSON – Marie Vitulli, Professor Emerita of Mathematics at the University of Oregon, was the invited speaker for the Jan. 25 spring kickoff of the TIGERS ADVANCE Distinguished Speaker Series.

Vitulli stands at lecture

Vitulli spoke for the TIGERS ADVANCE Distinguished Speaker Series on Jan. 25.
Image Credit: College of Science

Vitulli’s lecture, titled “Algebra and Geometry Throughout History: A Symbiotic Relationship,” discussed the early beginnings of algebra and geometry in the Babylonian and Greek eras, throughout 17th and 18th century mathematics and into the modern history of abstract algebra as we know it today. A proponent of increasing representation of women in mathematics, Vitulli spoke a bit about her “hero” in the mathematical sciences, German mathematician Emmy Noether who lived in the early 1900s.

In addition to her TIGERS ADVANCE Distinguished Speaker Series lecture, Vitulli facilitated a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon on Saturday, Jan. 26 in Cooper Library to address gender bias on Wikipedia webpages. There, she led approximately 20 Clemson students in writing biographies about women and editing profiles for other researchers and concepts on the Wikipedia platform.

Sean Sather-Wagstaff, associate professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, invited Vitulli to Clemson University for the occasion. He and mathematical sciences graduate student Kristen Savary co-organized Saturday’s Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon.

Sather-Wagstaff emphasized Vitulli’s contributions to mathematical sciences and gender representation in his recollection of the event.

“Dr. Vitulli’s expertise as a researcher and an advocate for women in the mathematical and statistical sciences is amazing. Her lecture included interesting history and mathematics for everyone who attended, regardless of their background. And the Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon was a smashing success, all thanks to her,” he said.

students sitting on laptops

Students participate in the Jan. 26 Edit-A-Thon.
Image Credit: Kristen Savary

The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences in the College of Science and the Clemson chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics hosted Vitulli as she visited Clemson. All funding for the Distinguished Lecture was provided by TIGERS ADVANCE, while funding for the Edit-A-Thon came from the Clemson DINAMICS, “Diversity, INclusivity, And MathematICal Sciences,” an initiative created to address issues of diversity and inclusivity in mathematical sciences. Funding for the DINAMICS was provided by the Clemson Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Incentive Grant Fund, Clemson University Libraries, the “Women and Mathematics” program at the Institute for Advanced Study and philanthropist Lisa Simonyi.

Next in the spring lineup of the TIGERS ADVANCE Distinguished Speaker Series is Lee Alan Dugatkin, a professor and Distinguished University Scholar at the University of Louisville, who is set to speak on Feb. 8 from 3:30-4:45 p.m. at the Watt Family Innovation Center Auditorium. Dugatkin will present his research on the evolution of social behavior and the history of science, specifically on how evolution contributed to the domestication of dogs from wolves. This talk is open to faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact Margaret Ptacek (mptacek@clemson.edu).

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