A Mathematician's Manifesto For Rethinking Gender

Short Wave


Podcast is hard making one in the middle of a pandemic from our home closets and blanket forts is even harder. So in order to continue bringing you the best possible show, we're making a few changes over here starting this week. We'll. Be dropping episodes in your feeds four times a week. Instead of five, we plan to be back to five days a week. Soon, you'll still get the pandemic coverage you need and we promise. We'll still get weird and silly with you on a regular basis in the name of science of course, because we don't know any other way of where we can't really help it. Is. True. This will allow us to take care of ourselves a little bit better and keep doing what we love most bringing you this show. Thank you all for understanding. We knew you would. Okay ready for the show Oh. Yeah it's a good one. You're listening to shortwave. From NPR. So, one of the things I most remember from elementary school is all of the math word problems. You know what? I'm talking about the ones that say things like, okay. If Alex has seven cookies and Sam has read cookies, how many cookies do we need to give some to make sure they have the same number of cookies? I would get so excited every time I got the right answer to one of these problems. Anyway. One is actually pretty easy. Well, we could give four more cookies to Sam all we could take four cookies from Alex. We could make Alex give to cookies to Sam in any of these four Eugenia Chang, a mathematician. The better answer is actually to ask a different question. What if some doesn't even like cookies and would rob have pools? See Eugeniusz Studies. This kind of high level math never heard of to be honest called category theory. Category Theory is very abstract pods of math and so abstract that sometimes even all the pure mathematicians think it's too abstract. But for me, it's about the core of what makes math tick and because math for me is about the core of what makes the tick cats theories like the cool coal of what makes the wilted because category theory is about understanding why things work the way they do intrinsic characteristics don't really matter what matters is how things relate to one another it started in around the middle of the twentieth century and in A. Way It's only very small small new idea but like great ideas, a small shift in perspective opens up an absolutely vast array of possibilities because it's like turning on a light, which is why in her most recent book x Plus Y, Eugenia uses category to turn the light on something that I might seem surprising for a mathematician something deeply ingrained in many of us gender it suddenly eliminates everything and you can see all sorts of things you didn't see before and so in the same way that we stop focusing on cookies which not everyone wants. What happens if we also stop focusing on gender constructs which might not be relevant. Category theory invites us to stop asking if men women and non binary people are equal and to look beyond the single dimension, of gender. Today on the show in abstract. Mathematicians approach to rethinking gender. I'm Emily Quang

Coming up next