16 January 2006

A Shortage of Top Mathematicians

Mathematics, in the form of complex algorithms, makes the modern world go around. From Bioinformatics/Genomics discovery, to electronic money transfers, to confidential data communications, to drug discovery, to manufacturing processes, to transport/shipping tracking etc. etc. Top mathematicians are in demand, so much so that there is a heated competition going on for their services. Hat tip Geek Press Blog.

The modern world rests on the shoulders of top mathematicians. For every top mathematician who is female, there are almost ten top mathematicians who are male. That same sex disparity is present among top physicists and top scientists, engineers, and computer scientists who use the most difficult mathematical techniques in their work.

Why the sex differences? Why the gender disparity? Is it a sexist conspiracy to keep the little woman down? Hardly that. If any conspiracy is involved, it is a conspiracy between mother nature, sister evolution, brother epigene, and father gene. There is something different about the brains of the people who fall within the elite of mathematical skill.

This difference will not always display itself in a simple IQ score, since an IQ score is a composite of various mental abilities that combine to form the "g" value. There is more to intelligence than innate math skills.

Complex modern societies depend upon their elite mathematicians and other mathematically inclined scientists, engineers, and technologists. These men, mostly men, often find their way to top jobs with good pay and job security.

It is very likely that a significant number of mathematically inclined persons are thrown on the metaphorical garbage heap due to government policies that fail to seek them out and find them, partially because of their gender. That would come underThe War Against Boys by Christina Hoff Sommers, and several other excellent publications showing how a misguided attempt to forcefully "even the scales" is producing counterproductive results.


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