Person: Bernstein (3), Dorothy
Dorothy Bernstein was awarded a Ph.D. in 1939 and had an excellent career overcoming prejudice against her as a woman and as a Jew. She became the first woman president of the Mathematical Association of America.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Jacob and Tillie Bernstein were both naturalised in 1914.
- Sheldon Bernstein (1927-2014), Dorothy's youngest sibling, was born in Milwaukee on 23 March 1927.
- Before we continue with Dorothy Bernstein's biography, let us give a brief description of the lives of her four surviving siblings.
- Since Dorothy's four siblings all attended Washington High School in Milwaukee, we might expect her to have also been a pupil there but that is not the case.
- After attending a public primary school in Milwaukee, Dorothy Bernstein entered the Roosevelt Junior High School in Milwaukee in 1926, the year the school opened.
- And among Dorothy's many virtues is the happy faculty of making firm friends.
- In 1934 Bernstein was awarded B.A. and M.A. degrees, and spent 1934-35 doing teaching and research at the University of Wisconsin before moving to Brown University to continue studying for her Ph.D. with a two-year scholarship.
- Bernstein and a colleague Hugh Hamilton were asked to teach a remedial course, Bernstein at Pembroke College, the associated women's college, and Hamilton at Brown.
- After one year Bernstein took the examinations to qualify for the Ph.D. course.
- Many mathematicians became involved in the war effort and, in June 1942, Bernstein was appointed as research associate to Jerzy Neyman at the Statistical Laboratory of the University of California at Berkeley where much secret work was being undertaken on behalf of the US Army.
- At first she taught at the Prince Street Campus but after a while all science was taught at the River Campus, women having to take science courses there, and from that time on Bernstein taught at the River Campus.
- Charles Brown Tompkins (1912-1971) had held a visiting lectureship at the University of Wisconsin and got to know Bernstein when they both worked there.
- He asked Bernstein to make a study of existence theorems in partial differential equations, believing these would play a significant role in solving non-linear problems on computers.
- Bernstein was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in 1950-51 and spent her sabbatical year 1957-58 as a visiting professor at the University of California's Institute for Numerical Analysis in Los Angeles.
- Her dissertation, entitled "The Double Laplace Transform and Its Application to Partial Differential Equations," was overseen by Dorothy L Bernstein.
- Bernstein and Coon published the joint paper Some properties of the double Laplace transformation in the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society in 1953.
- During the twenty-one years that Bernstein worked there, 1959 to 1979, Goucher College was a women's college, only becoming co-educational in 1986.
- After retiring in 1979, Bernstein was made professor emeritus.
- Jerry Coon, Bernstein's former research student, became a colleague of Bernstein's at Goucher College from 1964 until 1979 when they both retired.
- Coon and Bernstein then shared a home on the Pawcatuck River in Connecticut.
- She intends to maintain the famous Bernstein Box at the Preakness, where annually the laws of probability and statistics fall into complete disarray.
- Bernstein was treated for her final illness in Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, where she died at the age of seventy-three.
Born 11 April 1914, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Died 5 February 1988, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Usa, Women
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive