Date & Time of the event(s)
Description and practical details

May 12 marks the birthday of Maryam Mirzakhani - the first female Field Medallist who sadly passed away in 2017, whom you will get to know deeper at our event. Since 2019, it has been celebrated as International Women in Mathematics Day all around the globe, providing an opportunity to proclaim female mathematicians' achievements and inspire others wishing to walk down the same path.

‌We encapsulate what we offer for such an occasion:

  • EXHIBITION: Women of Mathematics from Around the World | A Gallery of Portraits.

Where: Room

When: From 17:00

  • MOVIE: Secrets of the Surface: The Mathematical Vision of Maryam Mirzakhani - a documentary presenting her life and mathematical achievements.

Where: Room 5H

When: At 18:30


Let us use this moment to take a step back from our daily agendum and remember how we got so far as humankind. Women's presence outgrew the households and joined every bit of life. It was neither a natural nor smooth process; people raised their voices to enable us to have what they did not, and there is still a lot to be done. Academia needs to fulfill the promise of equality, and we all need to contribute to that.


The "Leaky Pipeline Syndrome" is a metaphor describing how some groups passively leak out of STEM careers and become more and more underrepresented along the way to the top positions. Numbers support and experts debate that the root cause might be planted in the lack of a sense of "belonging." Within our celebration, we aspire to replace it with the feeling of "inclusion" by displaying the admirable work of successful mathematicians and presenting the existing community to share, reflect and learn together.


Why May 12?

In 2014, the Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman awarded the Fields Medal for her "outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces."

‌After her tragical passing, the Iranian Mathematical Society proposed her birthday, May 12, as an official date to celebrate women's achievements in Mathematics worldwide. Since then, May 12 has become a symbolic date to celebrate women in mathematics, both in the present and the past, and to inspire the next generations to approach such a fascinating scientific field.

Nevertheless, May 12 should not be seen only as a moment of celebration but also as an opportunity to reflect on the obstacles women still face along their path when choosing a career in STEM fields, especially in Mathematics. The event aims to turn everyone's attention to such issues and share experiences, as awareness is the key to making a change for a more inclusive community.

Movie screening

"Filmed in Canada, Iran, and the United States, Secret of the Surface: The Mathematical Vision of Maryam Mirzakhani examines the life and mathematical work of Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian immigrant to the United States who became a superstar in her field. In 2014, she was both the first woman and the first Iranian to be honored by mathematics' highest prize, the Fields Medal. Mirzakhani's contributions are explained in the film by leading mathematicians and illustrated by animated sequences. Her mathematical colleagues from around the world, as well as former teachers, classmates, and students in Iran today, convey the deep impact of her achievements. The path of her education, success on Iran's Math Olympiad team, and her brilliant work make Mirzakhani an ideal role model for girls looking toward careers in science and mathematics." [Zala Films]

Poster exhibition

"Entering the field of mathematics can be tough, and women often encounter specific obstacles. The exhibition offers a glimpse into the world of mathematics through photographs (by Noel Tovia Matoff) and excerpts from 23 women mathematicians from around the world." [...]

‌"This touring exhibition, whose starting point was the 7th ECM held in July 2016 in Berlin, stems from the observation that nowadays, women still find it difficult to embrace a career in the mathematical academic world and the disparity between the proportion of men and that of women among professional mathematicians is still shamefully large." [...]

"In presenting mathematics through women mathematicians' perspectives and samples of their life stories, we hope to highlight the human aspects of producing mathematics, making this discipline more tangible and therefore more accessible to outsiders or newcomers." [Women of Mathematics | A Gallery of Portraits (]



‌We are looking forward to seeing you all on May 12, and in the meantime, we warmly invite you to spread the word to make this event as inclusive as possible!

Florian Felix, Zeynep Kısakürek, Margherita Piccolo, and Giada Serafini

Type of event
Event visual
Program: EXHIBITION: Women of Mathematics from Around the World | A Gallery of Portraits in Room from 17:00.  MOVIE: Secrets of the Surface in Room 5H  at 18:30.

Universitätsstraße 1
Building 25.22 00.53 Math Department
40225 Düsseldorf

Name of the Organisation
EO group of GRK 2240 HHU and BUW