On 11 May 2023, the third edition of the GEM (Girls Exploring Math) Day was a great success with more than 230 girls from 11 Luxembourg secondary schools. Held on Belval Campus, the event was punctuated by many activities, games and discussions, a great occasion to celebrate the International Women in Mathematics Day!
Throughout the day, secondary school girls had the opportunity to participate in the workshop “Unpuzzling Mathematics”, act in the play “Codée”, join the infinity flashmob and exchange with mathematicians on their career paths and current jobs.
The workshop “Unpuzzling Mathematics” was moderated by students, PhD candidates and postdocs in mathematics from the University of Luxembourg. During the workshop, participants could enjoy original facets of mathematics through games and specially designed interactive tools.
Ann Kiefer, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Luxembourg, captured the audience’s attention. After a general presentation about a long standing open problem, Ann invited girls to take part in a live quiz, answering questions such as “what mathematics means to you?”.
This edition was also enriched with a flash mob during which the 230 high-school participants drew the infinite symbol!
The play “Codée” from the compagnie LAPS / Équipe du matin, which focuses on the persistent gender inequalities throughout mathematics and science, raised many questions from the audience.
In addition, four women who studied mathematics, namely Federica Fanoni, Chloé Koos, Marie Lejeune, Monika Zlopasa, shared their testimonials and encouraged girls to pursue math studies. They showed the large variety of jobs possible after studying mathematics. Federica is researcher at CNRS, Chloé is Head of Productivity Platform at the Pictet Group, Marie is Software Engineer at Acsone and Monika is an Investment Risk Manager at UBS Fund Management Luxembourg.
The number of participants doubled compared to last year, which shows the increasing interest of this initiative launched in 2019 by mathematicians Hugo Parlier and Bruno Teheux from the Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine of the University of Luxembourg. “We’re a bit overwhelmed but super happy that so many students showed up. After a day like today, the future looks brighter!”
Girls who joined the event really enjoyed the day. “I particularly liked the speed meetings with women who studied mathematics, I did not know that mathematics could cover so many fields and offer a variety of career paths, the theatre play was also very original”, comments Inès from the Lycée Michel Rodange.
A fourth edition is already planned for 2024.