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


Three Dubai-based fashionistas explain style differences between Pakistan and the UAE

Updated 25 August 2019
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Three Dubai-based fashionistas explain style differences between Pakistan and the UAE

  • The two countries share a Muslim majority, hot climate and a love of Pakistani fashion designers
  • But when it comes to style, both countries have radically different approaches

ISLAMABAD: Dubai and Pakistan share many things: a Muslim majority, hot climate and a love of Pakistani fashion designers. However, when it comes to style, both countries have radically different approaches. Arab News spoke to prominent Pakistanis in the world of fashion to ask them what set Dubai style apart from Pakistan.
Jahanara Amin Mir, Lawyer, living in Dubai
"If we break it down, when I wake up in Pakistan my biggest struggle is how much skin can I show? Here in Dubai that hurdle does not exist. The first thing I think when I wake up is ‘ok, how do I want to express myself today?’
I love that I can go in a café and see someone in an abaya and underneath she has on high waisted pants and a crop top. I love that you can see someone in a bikini and then right next to that person is someone in a burkini swimming harmoniously in the same open water. As long as there is a modicum of respect of cultures, Dubai is very tolerant with respect to what people wear.
If you want to see true style you go out on the town in Dubai on Thursday Night and see how local women dress up and how much thought they put in their bags and shoes, because that is the only way they can express themselves if they are going to wear an abaya. The way they do their hair and nails they pay attention to details that you don’t really pay attention to in other countries.
Dubai gets a bad rep in terms of style, people assume you have to dress head to toe in designer labels and that is not the case at all. It’s not superficial what struck me, was when I moved here is I work with people from Africa, Australia, and Europe and their aesthetics are drawn from their home countries and that is what is beautiful and diverse and amazing about their style here. It is not uniform, it is not one flavour.
In Pakistan we don’t necessarily have that diversity on the streets. What I love about style in Pakistan is people do not take themselves that seriously, they are just naturally beautiful, so they rock  shalwar kameez, throw on some kajol and light jewellery and that’s their form of expression. When I go to Pakistan I focus on the simplicity. The playfulness of Dubai is what I love about it. I can be simple if I want. I can be understated the top and wear a gown if I want to and no one will really bat and eye because it’s Dubai and that is freeing and colourful about style here.”
Zahra Raza, Founder Luxury Boulevard and Popsicle Pop Up Concept, living in Dubai
“Living in Dubai, is having best of both worlds. It’s as eastern or as western you want it to be be it food, culture or entertainment. It’s very different from Pakistan in terms of safety, quality of life and the most importantly, the law is the same for all expats.
Fashion in Dubai is incredible because you see all kinds of people, wearing Abaya or no Abaya, everyone is accepted. People are aware of new trends and are very fashion conscious, one  has access to international luxury brands and high street brands. For me who was working their full time, was easy to purchase suits for work meeting, or casual clothes just for a coffee with friends. You work hard but you have access to the top restaurants, fashion stores, lifestyle products, high quality cinemas, malls and most of all safety.”
Sabah Malik, College Graduate living in the UAE
"Being in Dubai I have found  that you have to keep up with trends or else you will stick out for the wrong reasons. Dubai style is very ‘this outfit needs to be instagram worthy.’ I feel like that is a lot of peoples’ first priority when it comes to style, sure everyone has their own personal fashion preferences and their own unique taste but I feel like it is all still the ‘same’ if that makes sense. From what I’ve seen in Pakistan and on social media from stylish Pakistani accounts it is more mixed and less of just one “style.” Pakistan has a more of a ‘I want to wear this so I will’ mentality which I personally prefer, it doesn’t seem like everyone’s trying to compete or follow the latest trends and evidently dress the same as each other.”
Meeral Khan, Marketing Manager, living in Dubai
“Fashion in Dubai has a massive range of eastern and western wear. Even if you look at the abaya, you have traditional abayas and then people who will add an element of style into their abayas, whether this is through different sleeves or patterns and designs on the abaya itself. In Pakistan, generally speaking, a vast majority of people tend to wear regionally inspired outfits, there is less western wear culture than in Dubai.
I believe women in both countries take their aesthetic and expression seriously and place huge importance on style, through designer fashion, hair & makeup both.
Style even down to home decor differs. There are two styles in Dubair, opulent classic, with a love of gold and being a new city, the ultra modern look. People also tend to update very rapidly. Whereas in Pakistan, it’s generally more subtle, and you have more of a mix of modern and classic. Dubai being a place of experimentation, pushes boundaries in terms of architecture and design more.”