Nancy Goldberg, math teacher in UMTYMP and at Eden Prairie High School (in Minnesota), noticed that all textbook pictures of mathematicians are of pre-twentieth century mathematicians. This gives the illusion that mathematics research is finished and now only a subject studied in school. In order to destroy this illusion, she has started a project in conjunction with Arnie Cutler at the Geometry Center called the Gallery of Mathematicians.
The Center asks its many visitors to allow themselves to be part of the Gallery. If they agree, the Center staff take their photo. They also supply a statement for high school students. These statements can be biographies, advice, description of research, or anything else that might be interesting to the students.
Already there are over forty contributors to the Gallery. They are quite a distinguished group. Many of the people mentioned in previous articles appear in the Gallery, such as Fred Almgren, George Francis, Jean Taylor, Ken Brakke: "Although they are familiar to everybody, ... soap films still hold surprises," Dan Freed: "I kept taking more and more math courses, ... and before I realized it, I was becoming a professional mathematician!" and Gene Klotz, creator of the Geometry Forum: "I've been a member of the Swarthmore College Department of Mathematics since the dawn of man, when I wrote my dissertation on Lie algebras."
In addition to mathematics researchers, there are a wide range of others who use math in their work. For example, there are high school teachers, education researchers, software developers, and physics professors.
At current time, the Gallery is just a collection of photos and statements. The plan is to make either a poster set (around 25) or an academic year calendar available at cost to those interested. Advertising will start in April, taking orders first, and having everything ready for the beginning of the 94/95 school year. The cost is potentially $20 but perhaps less.
If you are interested in this project, please give your input: Would you prefer a poster set or a calendar? Is it better to have a $20 photo quality product, or would you prefer to pay less for a copy quality product? If $20 is too high, what is the maximum you would be willing to pay? Do you have any other suggestions? Send all questions, comments, and advice to Arnie Cutler (firstname.lastname@example.org).