Abigail Thompson


Abigail A. Thompson (born 1958 in Norwalk, Connecticut)[1] is an American mathematician. She works as a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Davis, where she specializes in knot theory and low-dimensional topology.[2]

Abigail Thompson, 1987

Education and career edit

Thompson graduated from Wellesley College in 1979,[1] and earned her Ph.D. in 1986 from Rutgers University under the joint supervision of Martin Scharlemann and Julius L. Shaneson.[3] After visiting positions at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of California, Berkeley, she joined the University of California Davis faculty in 1988.[1] Thompson had a postdoctoral fellowship with the National Science Foundation from 1988 to 1991 and a Sloan Foundation Fellowship from 1991 to 1993.[4] She was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in 1990-1991, 2000-2001, and 2015-2016.[4][5] She became the Chair of the Department of Mathematics at UC Davis in 2017.[6] She is one of the current vice presidents of the American Mathematical Society; her term is February 1, 2019 to January 31, 2022.[7]

Research edit

Thompson extended David Gabai's concept of thin position from knots to 3-manifolds and Heegaard splittings.[1]

Education reform edit

Thompson has also been an activist for reform of primary and secondary school mathematics education. She has publicly attacked the Mathland-based curriculum in use in the mid-1990s when the oldest of her three children began studying mathematics in school, claiming that it provided an inadequate foundation in basic mathematical skills, left no opportunity for independent work, and was based on poorly written materials. As an alternative, she founded a program at UC Davis to improve teacher knowledge of mathematics, and became the director of the California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science, a month-long summer mathematics camp for high school students.[8]

Recognition edit

Thompson won the 2003 Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize in Mathematics for her research on thin position and Heegard splittings.[1] In 2013, she became one of the inaugural fellows of the American Mathematical Society.[9]

In February 2020, Abigail Thompson has been recognized by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) as a "Hero of Intellectual Freedom."[10][11] The award is due to an op-ed Thompson published in The Wall Street Journal on December 19, 2019, denouncing the use of mandatory diversity statements in faculty hiring practices in the University of California system.[11][12] Thompson will deliver the keynote address at ACTA’s ATHENA Roundtable Conference on November 13, 2020.[11] In December of 2019 she published a similar opinion piece under the heading "A word from... Abigail Thompson" in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society,[13] of which she was one of the Vice Presidents at the time.[7] Both opinion pieces generated a lot of discussion within the mathematics community[14] and the academy in general,[15][16][17][18] with official responses from the Association for Women in Mathematics,[19] and the UC Davis Chancellor and Vice Chancellor[20][21] among others.

Selected publications edit

Research papers
  • Scharlemann, Martin; Thompson, Abigail (1994), "Thin position for 3-manifolds", Geometric topology (Haifa, 1992), Contemp. Math., vol. 164, Amer. Math. Soc., Providence, RI, pp. 231–238, doi:10.1090/conm/164/01596, MR 1282766.
  • Scharlemann, Martin; Thompson, Abigail (1994), "Thin position and Heegaard splittings of the 3-sphere", Journal of Differential Geometry, 39 (2): 343–357, doi:10.4310/jdg/1214454875, MR 1267894.
  • Thompson, Abigail (1994), "Thin position and the recognition problem for S3", Mathematical Research Letters, 1 (5): 613–630, doi:10.4310/MRL.1994.v1.n5.a9, MR 1295555.
  • Thompson, Abigail (1997), "Thin position and bridge number for knots in the 3-sphere", Topology, 36 (2): 505–507, doi:10.1016/0040-9383(96)00010-9, MR 1415602.
  • Adams, Colin; Hass, Joel; Thompson, Abigail (1998), How to Ace Calculus: The Streetwise Guide, New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, ISBN 0-7167-3160-6.[22]
  • Adams, Colin; Hass, Joel; Thompson, Abigail (2001), How to Ace the Rest of Calculus: The Streetwise Guide, New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, ISBN 0-7167-4174-1.[23]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e "2003 Satter Prize" (PDF), Notices of the AMS, 50 (4): 474–475, April 2003.
  2. ^ Faculty profile Archived 2018-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, UC Davis, retrieved 2014-12-25.
  3. ^ Abigail Thompson at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ a b "Abigail Thompson". www.agnesscott.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  5. ^ "Abigail Thompson". Institute for Advanced Study. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  6. ^ Thompson, Abigail (May 15, 2019). "Biographical Sketch" (PDF). Mathematics Department at UC Davis. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 27, 2019. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Officers of the American Mathematical Society". American Mathematical Society. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  8. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Abigail A Thompson", MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, University of St Andrews
  9. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2014-12-25.
  10. ^ Oskin, Becky (2020-03-11). "Award for Math Professor Abigail Thompson". UC Davis College of Letters and Science. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  11. ^ a b c "UC–Davis Professor, Abigail Thompson, Recognized as 2020 Hero of Intellectual Freedom by ACTA". www.goacta.org. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  12. ^ Thompson, Abigail (2019-12-19). "Opinion | The University's New Loyalty Oath". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  13. ^ Thompson, Abigail (December 2019). "A word from... Abigail Thompson" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. 66 (11): 1778–1779.
  14. ^ "Letters to the Editor. Responses to "A Word from... Abigail Thompson"" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society (Online Only). Archived (PDF) from the original on January 8, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  15. ^ Flaherty, Colleen (November 19, 2019). "Mathematician comes out against mandatory diversity statements, while others say they continue to be useful -- with some caveats". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2020-05-21.
  16. ^ Price, Michael; January 14, 2020 (2020-01-14). "Mathematicians divided over faculty hiring practices that require proof of efforts to promote diversity". Science | AAAS. Retrieved 2020-05-21.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Price, Michael (January 17, 2020). "'Diversity statements' divide mathematicians". Science. 367 (6475): 239. Bibcode:2020Sci...367..239P. doi:10.1126/science.367.6475.239. PMID 31949062. S2CID 210700515. Retrieved 2020-05-21.
  18. ^ Poliakoff, Michael. "How Diversity Screening At The University Of California Could Degrade Faculty Quality". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-05-21.
  19. ^ "Response to Dr. Thompson's Letter in the AMS Notices". Association for Women in Mathematics. Archived from the original on May 11, 2020. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  20. ^ "May and Tull Defend Diversity-Contribution Statements". UC Davis. 2019-12-26. Retrieved 2020-05-21.
  21. ^ "Opinion | UC Davis Defends Its 'Diversity Statements'". Wall Street Journal. 2019-12-26. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-05-21.
  22. ^ Benson, Steve (December 12, 1998), "Review of How to Ace Calculus", MAA Reviews, Mathematical Association of America
  23. ^ Anderson, Kevin (December 12, 2002), "Review of How to Ace the Rest of Calculus", MAA Reviews, Mathematical Association of America

External links edit

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