Faculty of Mathematics, Kyushu University

Mika Sakata

Attending The 9th Research Meeting of Women in Number Theory in Japan

On May 21st, 2016, I attended the 9th Research Meeting of Women in Number Theory in Japana mathematics conference which was held at Sophia University that year.

I first attended this conference in May of my first year as a master’s student with the recommendation of my lab professor, and since then, have attended every year, making this my fifth time. 

All audiences as well as the lecturers are women at this special conference, and the first time I attended, I was surprised that there were so many female mathematicians in Japan!  Registration is necessary in advance, and there are usually about 20 mathematicians attending each year. This year, there were 26 of us, with 16 lecturers and 10 audiences, including 9 graduate students.  Mathematicians from all over Japan, from Tohoku University to Kyushu University attended this year.  We all attend the conferences at our own pace; while some of us have attended every year, others were back after a five years’ absence.  There were also new faces, and there are new encounters every year.

The lectures cover a wide variety of topics and this year, the lectures were not just on number theories but also on knot theory which is closely related, and there were many questions from the audiences after each of the lectures.

After a day of hard work, there was a little get-together party at a nearby restaurant. We chatted about many things over delicious pizzas, pastas, and wine, and were able to hear about the lives and the researches of other fellow female mathematicians firsthand.  There was a participant who was raising a young child, another participant who was married but working under her maiden name, and even someone who was getting married the next week!  Until I started attending this conference, I had never really thought much about my future as a researcher, but after meeting many fellow mathematicians and hearing their stories firsthand, I started imagining my life as a mathematician more specifically.

The very first time I attended this conference, I was nervous and excited as I was being guided to the venue by a fellow mathematician who had already attended the conference before.  Now four years later, I was leading the way for the younger mathematicians.  Attending this conference gives us the opportunity to talk about our worries, our researches, and our futures, and by attending this conference and meeting many fellow female mathematicians, your worries as a woman in mathematics may be relieved.

Those of you wondering what life would be like after going on to study at graduate school or after becoming a researcher, or just wondering what the female mathematicians at other universities are like, please come join us!  You may just meet fellow mathematicians in similar situations that would be great encouragement for your future!


*The information in this article is as of the time it was written, and may have changed since.

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