Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Winter 12-2017


This thesis is a bridge between two disciplines: Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Mathematics. The first portion of the work synthesizes both theory and previously done studies to describe the state of women in mathematics as a whole, as well as historicizing the role of women in mathematics. Obstacles to the full and equal participation of women in mathematics are examined through a feminist lens. The second part of the thesis is a feminist biography crafted from an interview with a professor of mathematics, Dr. Erica Flapan. This provides information about her personal experiences as a woman in mathematics education in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and her perception of the field today and the status of women within it. Finally, the topological work of this professor is examined. This section introduces and explains some basics of knot theory and then begins to explore the work of Dr. Flapan in applications of knot theory to DNA in the process of site-specific recombination.