A Point of View - Dame Mary Cartwright
Lisa Jardine celebrates the achievements of the mathematician Dame Mary Cartwright, whose work helped wartime radar engineers and became the foundation of chaos theory.
Lisa Jardine celebrates the achievements of the mathematician Dame Mary Cartwright, the first woman mathematician to be elected to the Royal Society.
During World War Two, she responded to a request from the British government to address an issue with early and still-secret radar systems. Together with her colleague Professor J. E. Littlewood, they were able to help war-time radar engineers circumvent a problem that was making radar unreliable.
Her findings were not fully understood by her peers at first. It would take a generation before mathematicians realised that her discoveries were the foundation of what became a new field of science: chaos theory.
Dame Mary Cartwright was very modest and did not want eulogies at her funeral, but Lisa Jardine takes the opportunity of International Woman's Day to blow Dame Mary's trumpet on her behalf.
- Broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 8:50AM Sun, 10 Mar 2013
- Available until 12:00AM Thu, 1 Jan 2099
- First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 8:50PM Fri, 8 Mar 2013
- Duration 10 minutes