Person: De Guber, Rebeca Cherep
Rebeca Guber was one of the first Argentinian women mathematicians. She played a major role in the development of computing in Argentina. She also made important contributions to education particularly teaching science in schools.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- She was widely known as "Rebe." Her parents were Russian Jewish immigrants who arrived in Argentina early in the 20th century.
- They lived in a collective housing tenement and when Rebeca was born in July 1926 she was delivered on a table in their home.
- Rebeca's parents felt that education was the way out of poverty so they made every effort to give her the best chance to study.
- Rebeca attended both elementary school and high school in Avellaneda.
- At the High School in Avellaneda, Rebeca became friends with Cecilia Tuwjasz (known as Cecilia Berdichevsky after her marriage).
- Rebeca and Cecilia both loved mathematics and excelled at that topic at the High School.
- They felt that there were two ways in which they could pursue a career in mathematics, either by doing an accounting degree or by studying for a B.Sc. in mathematics.
- Rebeca took the B.Sc. in mathematics option while Cecilia opted for an accounting degree.
- Later Rebeca would persuade Cecilia to take a mathematics degree and they would become colleagues.
- Rebeca began her university studies of mathematics in the National University of La Plata.
- At the National University of La Plata, Rebeca was fortunate to be taught by Manuel Sadosky and Luís Antoni Santaló.
- After her first degree Rebeca continued to study for a Ph.D. advised by Santaló to study problems in differential and integral geometry.
- She defended her doctoral thesis El estudio de los invariantes afines asociados de las curvas del espacio y de ciertos elementos geométricos ligados con las mismas de manera afín Ⓣ(The study of the associated affine invariants of the curves of space and of certain elements) in December 1949.
- The six projective invariants determined by P Buzano in the general case (1948) are included among those obtained here.
- José Guber's friend Julio Broner started up the Wobron automobile parts company in 1951 with José Guber as a minor partner so he had a good income.
- Juan Perón had been elected president of Argentina in 1946 and in 1949 introduced Constitutional Reforms.
- These were not supported by all and were opposed by the Radicals who declared the Peronists did not have the required majority to make constitutional changes.
- By 1952 Perón's government became more determined that only supporters of the party could teach in universities.
- Rebeca earned her living giving private mathematics classes and created an institute in which she taught Mathematical Analysis to Engineering students.
- She worked with Manuel Sadosky writing the book Elementos de cálculo diferencial e integral Ⓣ(Elements of differential and integral calculus) which was published in 1956.
- The book was not aimed primarily at mathematics students but rather it was written for engineers and users of mathematics.
- He had began to lose the support of the military and, after a failed coup in June 1955, another in September 1955 succeeded and Perón fled to exile in Spain.
- In October 1955, Rebeca Guber began to work at the Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires.
- The university authorities to set up a Computational Institute and purchased a computer; a Special Commission comprising of Alberto González Domínguez, Manuel Sadosky and Simón Leonado Altmann was, on 18 November 1957, given the responsibility to study the "organisation and governance of the Computational Institute and present draft regulations and a plan for its needs." Before looking at Guber's contribution to computing, we note that in 1957 her third paper on differential geometry Developable surfaces related in an affine manner with a space curve was published.
- In it she finds necessary and sufficient conditions that a certain ruled surface be developable.
- The reason for such delay was that the chosen room to place the computer, being prepared on the second floor of the new building of the School of Exact and Natural Sciences, was not yet ready and did not suit the required strict Ferranti specifications.
- Rebeca Guber and Cecilia Berdichevsky had leading roles in Sadosky's team.
- Guber was appointed Technical Secretary of the Computational Institute on 6 June 1960.
- Cristina Zoltan was taught by Guber and then was a assistant at the Computational Institute.
- In particular, Wilfred Durán's project to make a programming language that could facilitate the programming of the models developed in Oscar Varsavsky's group.
- Rebe personally took care of supporting the project (COMIC), which had overtones of the quixotic since at that time IBM was developing FORTRAN with the participation of 1000 programmers and in the Institute a language with more facilities was developed with a team of 5.
- Guber was very demanding and we had a lot of respect for her, the entire Computational Institute felt that way.
- Arturo Illia had become President of Argentina following elections in June 1963.
- He tried to split the Perónists, who controlled the unions, from their exiled leader Perón.
- The Perónists reacted by supporting a coup against President Arturo Illia in June 1966 and General Juan Carlos Onganía, the commander in chief of the army, took control of the country.
- Guber, who had put so much effort into managing the Computational Institute was devastated to see it destroyed.
- This project considered mathematical models of traffic flow and parking, and was probably the largest carried out in Latin America.
- In 1970 Guber and the other two founders sold the company to some of those workers.
- In 1971 Rebeca and José Guber were divorced.
- In 1977, after a year in which she had been unable to get a job, Guber went to Venezuela.
- In Venezuela she served as an advisor to the Fundación Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho, later becoming director of the Information Technology Department, and coordinated the Mathematics Department of the Faculty of Architecture of the Central University of Venezuela.
- In 1983 Argentina became a democracy under President Raúl Alfonsín.
- Guber returned to Argentina before the election of Alfonsín to the presidency and worked along with Manuel Sadosky to support his candidacy.
- After Alfonsín became president, Guber was made head of the Cabinet of Advisors and, later, Undersecretary of Operational Coordination.
- The Technological Institute of Chascomús is a multidisciplinary centre whose mission is to provide excellent education and generate innovative basic and applied knowledge.
- The Latin American School of Informatics, established in 1986 at the Pereyra Iraola Park about 40 km from Buenos Aires, was an Argentine undergraduate school of computer science.
- Guber put in very effective support to make this successful but after four years its funding was withdrawn.
- Unfortunately, a new official, almost by definition, destroys what the previous one did.
- For the rest of her career, Guber was an advisor to many different organisations such as the Scientific Research Commission of the Province of Buenos Aires.
- Nación y Memorias de la Guerra de Malvinas Ⓣ(From boys to veterans.
- Guber continued to work until her 85th birthday in 2011.
- She died aged 94, one of the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- She has been honoured with the naming of a room in the Computational Institute the 'Rebeca Cherep de Guber Classroom'.
Born 2 July 1926, Avellaneda, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Died 25 August 2020, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Argentina, Women
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive