Cathleen Morawetz has died


219 points | by dnetesn 343 days ago


  • danso 342 days ago

    The obit says she became president of the American Mathematical Society in 1995 -- which means she was still leading at the age of 72.

    Her writeup when receiving the National Medal of Science in 1998:

    • pedrocr 342 days ago

      >which means she was still leading at the age of 72

      The current US president is 71 and on average women have longer life expectancies so it doesn't seem that high an age to be leading a group like the AMS.

      • sverhagen 342 days ago

        The current US president is the oldest US president to date, and it was even a thing that came up in the campaign (for multiple candidates, by the way).

        • BurningFrog 342 days ago

          Reagan was older when elected for his second term, but Trump is the oldest to be first elected.

          • pedrocr 342 days ago

            I remember it being an issue in the McCain campaign but not with Trump. Anyway, it's not a young age but if it's only a discussion point for president of the whole country for presiding over the AMS it shouldn't be surprising at all.

            • idibidiart 342 days ago

              let's not bring a lowbrow act like Trump and the AMS together in one sentence ever again ... please. It's a terrible comparison.

      • zitterbewegung 342 days ago

        The title of the article is somewhat strange in that it sounds like Mathematics doesn't have many real world applications. On the other hand I believe that the title of the article is very effective for people to share it or even as an attention grabber.

        • vanderZwan 342 days ago

          Well, a lot of people also believe that most modern mathematics is more abstract theory and rarely applied outside of its own field. Her work seems very closely tied to physics. So I don't think explicitly mentioning that she did applied maths is bad, especially for lay people

          • macspoofing 342 days ago

            >it sounds like Mathematics doesn't have many real world applications.

            When it comes to Pure Mathematics, isn't that true in general?

            • microcolonel 342 days ago

              Given the proximity to physics, that is very often untrue. Because of how abstract logic and maths are, analogies from maths often inform us about the physical world.

              • macspoofing 342 days ago

                Much of cutting edge physics doesn't have practical applications either, whether it's dark matter and string theory, early universe cosmology or astrophysics. =)

                • 342 days ago
                  • foldr 342 days ago

                    Are you really suggesting that the majority of current research in pure math has practical applications in physics or other sciences? I just don't think that's true.

                  • 342 days ago
                • cpr 342 days ago

                  Curious why this resonates with the HN crowd?

                  Reqiescat in pace.

                  • Mz 342 days ago

                    The article has a lot of good info in it. There is really more here than just the fact that someone died. I had never heard of her before, but the article was an interesting read due to the content of her work, basically.

                    • macspoofing 342 days ago

                      It was a nice write-up of a Mathematician I've never heard about. HN tends to have a mix of tech startup, programming and STEM-related news. I'm not surprised to see it here.

                      • purple-again 342 days ago

                        Heavy cross pollination between mathematics and programming. More so in some disciplines than others. All around sad loss for humanity.

                        • sn9 342 days ago

                          94's a good age to go. It seemed like she lived a rich and fulfilling life. We should all be so lucky.

                        • foobarian 342 days ago

                          The HN crowd must be getting older. A lot older. It reminds me of how my grandparents would go straight to the obituaries in the daily newspaper, looking for their friends.

                          • dsfjksdf 342 days ago

                            Women in tech.

                            • sctb 342 days ago

                              This is shockingly disrespectful and I'm dismayed to see this on Hacker News. It seems you won't stop abusing the community with incivility so we've banned the account.

                          • chronic8k 342 days ago

                            Death is always unfortunate.

                            With that said, who is Cathleen Morawetz? And why should I, a random software engineer at Google, care?