Abel Prize for maths awarded to woman for first time

This handout photo taken on March 18, 2019 in Princeton, New Jersey and released on March 19, 2019 by The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters / Institute for Advanced Study shows scientist Karen Uhlenbeck. (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2019
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Abel Prize for maths awarded to woman for first time

  • American Karen Uhlenbeck won the Abel Prize in mathematics for her work on partial differential equations
  • Uhlenbeck, 76, is a visiting senior research scholar at Princeton University
OSLO, Norway: Women took another step forward in the still male-dominated world of science Tuesday, as American Karen Uhlenbeck won the Abel Prize in mathematics for her work on partial differential equations.
“Karen Uhlenbeck receives the Abel Prize 2019 for her fundamental work in geometric analysis and gauge theory, which has dramatically changed the mathematical landscape,” Abel Committee chairman Hans Munthe-Kaas said in a statement.
“Her theories have revolutionized our understanding of minimal surfaces, such as those formed by soap bubbles, and more general minimization problems in higher dimensions.”
She is the first woman to win the prize, which comes with a cheque for six million kroner (620,000 euros, $703,000). She is also an advocate for gender equality in science and mathematics.
“I am aware of the fact that I am a role model for young women in mathematics,” said Uhlenbeck, according to a Princeton statement.
“It’s hard to be a role model, however, because what you really need to do is show students how imperfect people can be and still succeed... I may be a wonderful mathematician and famous because of it, but I’m also very human.”
Uhlenbeck, 76, is a visiting senior research scholar at Princeton University, as well as visiting associate at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), both in the US.
The Cleveland native “developed tools and methods in global analysis, which are now in the toolbox of every geometer and analyst,” the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters said.


With the award, Uhlenbeck joined a still very small club of women who have scored a scientific prize.
Of the 607 Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry or medicine between 1901 and 2018, only 19 women were among the awardees, according to the Nobel Prize website. Marie Curie won twice, once for physics and another time for chemistry.
Only one woman has won the other major international mathematics prize — the Fields Medal — Maryam Mirzakhani of Iran in 2014. She died in 2017.
Princeton mathematician Alice Chang Sun-Yung, who is a member of the Abel committee, said “women are relative ‘newcomers” as research mathematicians, so it will take a while for us to get to the level of the ‘top prize winners.’“
“There needs to be some ‘critical mass,’ not a just few truly outstanding exceptional individuals for the math community to recognize and accept women as equally talented (in math) as men,” she told AFP.
“But change is coming and is in the air,” she added, pointing to wins by Uhlenbeck and Claire Voisin, who won the Shaw Prize in science in 2017.
Named after the 19th century Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel, the prize was established by the Oslo government in 2002 and first awarded a year later, to honor outstanding scientific work in the field of mathematics, a discipline not included among the Nobel awards.
Along with the Fields Medal, which is awarded every four years at the Congress of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), it is one of the world’s most prestigious maths prizes.
burs-cat/oh/ska


California woman charged with dumping puppies in trash

This Monday, April 22, 2019, photo taken by a Riverside County Animal Services officer shows the arrest of Deborah Sue Culwell at her Coachella, Calif., home. (AP)
Updated 23 min 3 sec ago
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California woman charged with dumping puppies in trash

  • The five male and two female puppies, believed to be terrier mixes, survived after spending about an hour inside a plastic bag in the dumpster, which was open

LOS ANGELES: A California woman could face up to seven years behind bars on a slew of charges filed Tuesday after authorities say surveillance video showed her casually tossing a bag of 3-day-old puppies into a trash can on a sweltering day.
Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, was charged with seven felony counts of injuring the palm-sized puppies and seven misdemeanor counts of abandoning them.
The puppies’ mother may have been among 38 dogs found inside Culwell’s home following her arrest, and authorities were determining whether a reunion would be possible, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
Though most of the 38 dogs in the home appeared to be “somewhat healthy,” some were aggressive or fearful, the agency said, adding that the house was in a state of disrepair.
The case drew national attention after surveillance video showed a woman dropping a bag with the puppies into the trash Thursday before taking off in a Jeep Wrangler. Authorities posted the video to social media to help track her down, but they ultimately found Culwell based on a search of the Jeep’s plate number.
It’s unclear if Culwell has an attorney. Her number is unlisted.
Video of the arrest shows Culwell being led from her home as a reporter with KNBC-TV peppers her with questions such as, “Why would you throw those puppies away like trash?” and “Do you have anything to say about your actions?“
A handcuffed Culwell remained silent as she was taken from her home in Coachella, a desert city about 130 miles (210 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
The five male and two female puppies, believed to be terrier mixes, survived after spending about an hour inside a plastic bag in the dumpster, which was open. A man heard them crying and took the puppies to a nearby store, where an employee called authorities.
“If not for the good Samaritan’s actions, the puppies may not have survived much longer,” the animal services agency said in a news release, adding that temperatures in the area had reached the mid-90s on Thursday.
The pups were dehydrated and malnourished and are being cared for by a volunteer who is bottle-feeding them. The volunteer, Noni Boen, posted a video of the puppies cuddling and mewling on Monday, saying they had just been fed and returned to their nap pile.
“There is no excuse for dumping puppies,” Chris Mayer, commander of animal services, said in a statement. “Especially in today’s age when we or other shelters would be willing to get these animals to foster parents or rescue partners. This was a shameful act.”