Notable Women in Math Playing Cards

History of the Project

The initial idea of the EvenQuads project came from learning of a Notable Women in Computing playing card deck produced by Ruth Haas and Karoline Pershell (at the time President-elect and Executive Director of AWM, respectively) thought this would be a great way to highlight women mathematicians. During the summer of 2019 a list of notable women in mathematics began to be compiled from sources listed below. At this point the data collection subcommittee was formed and the process of finding biographical information on the nominees was started.  Sources consulted include the websites Biographies of Women Mathematicians, Lathisms, MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive,  Mathematically Gifted and Black, Black Women in Mathematics, the Women in Math Project and Wikipedia. Additional sources consulted include the following books: Pioneering Women in American Mathematics: The Pre-1940 Ph.D.’s by Judy Green and Jeanne LaDuke, Power in Numbers by Talithia Williams, Women of Mathematics A Bio-Bibliographic Sourcebook by Louise S. Grinstein and Paul J. Campbell, and Women Who Count by Shelly M. Jones. Nominations were also solicited via social media and AWM newsletters to find 1400 nominees for inclusion. Volunteers worked for several months gathering biographical and professional data on these women. 

In preparation for Deck 1, volunteer reviewers looked at the biographies of all 1400 women mathematicians we had in our list.  A detailed evaluation rubric was developed and the Qualtrics survey software was used to gather assessments from reviewers. The rubric was organized around contributions to 

    • research mathematics, 
    • mathematics education,
    • mathematics in business, industry, and government,
    • establishing, cultivating and sustaining mathematical communities, and
    • increasing the participation of women and underrepresented groups.

Each nominee was then reviewed by two people using the rubric. Using these reviews, the committee identified more than two hundred truly amazing women mathematicians and chose a subset of them to appear on the first deck.  We valued and prioritized equitable representation across multiple demographic groups, mathematical fields, and different contributions to the mathematical community. 

For subsequent decks, an additional 300+ women have been researched and reviewed, and some women from the original set of 1400 were reevaluated, all using the same rubric as before. The EvenQuads committee applied the same methods, priorities, and values to select honorees for each deck.

Tough choices had to be made. While the committee is excited about all the featured women, we also know there are many more notable women mathematicians than we can possibly honor through this project.

The symbols of EvenQuads were inspired by the logos of four major mathematical organizations, namely AWM, MAA, NAM and WME. Sample cards and information about the organizations are below.