New "Math Support Gals" group description, for discussion

Mauri Favaron
Posted January 2, 2010 from Italy

It took some time, but finally I've prepared it.

This is the current edition of the description of the "Math Support Gals" soon-coming group, for final discussion.

After the text I state some issues I've found, and now pending. These too for discussion, and I can't pretend my list is complete (hope it makes sense, by the way; one of the issues is of special "practical" importance: the site where to host class material - if necessary I may open it on my registrar).

Here follow the revised text, with a big hug and thank you to Jackie, Janice, Maria and Sunita, who supported this initiative with ideas and warm sustain. And, to anyone who might want to add to the "Math Support Gals".


<----------------Begin-of-Long-Description------------------> We, the "Math Support Gals" group, are people passionate about children and young. We strongly believe, and maintain, the right to grow, blossom and thrive as full fledged, first-class citizens is as a fundamental right as food and shelter for young people all over the World.

We know from direct and personal experience that one of the obstacle of forming as first-class people in a world like this one is having no way to develop a mathematical, physical and more generally scientific knowledge.

As parents, teachers, decision-makers and, of course, gals we are very concerned about this, and we strive to do our best, all together, each one carrying a specific bit of experience and sensitivity.

There is another thing, of no less importance. Mathematics, physics and science are not only essential tools to survive and thrive in a complex world, but also beautiful. Unfortunately, some people (many girls especially - but some boys too) don't imagine this, and one of our most important tasks is eliciting, as far as we can, some sense of this beauty, so that all may decide what to do in greater fairness.

We are quite concrete people however, with some immediate and urgent dreams and aims: - Preparing (and receiving, too) class material which anyone may download, use and distribute free of charge - Promote the diffusion of mathematics, physics and sciences, through presenting them in ways girls may find especially useful, compelling, respectful and, yes, fascinating - Do, encourage and support class and teacher teaching on mathematical, physical and scientific issues likely to change the mind about these subjects - Denounce and fight against any direct or indirect attempt of excluding girls from schools, or from scientific and technological learning - Connect with women, men and institution interested in our same goals, to imagine and deploy new ways - Identify books, artwork, movies which help presenting physics and sciences and mathematics in the light they deserve - Find free tools helpful in class activities, and provide (as much as we can) some help on its retrieval, installation and use - Pursue a vision of science which is passionate and loving, in touch with us as human beings, and not as arid as it often seems - Last, but not least, to go on learning ourselves, of course, as Nature is so large and fascinating, and a lifetime so short to know it all.

As you see, we are a lot ambitious - and only your lovely help may allow us to turn these dreams into crumbs of reality. But, we are committed with all our souls, and know you too may help.

Our main focus is on girls (just because this is a bit easier for us - to be effective, we have to "return to childhood" ourselves, a little bit) but we don't forget boys, too. The "sense of beautiful" in physics, mathematics and science hits any sensitive soul, and no one should be in principle excluded.

We strive to connect, too. And lobby all over the World to help making it better, the little (and infinitely important) any of us can.

And, we’ll be glad to embrace you, that you desire to help us directly, or have not this possibility.

As an open community based on sharing experiences and will, we urge ourselves, and anyone who wants to join, to carry a little crumb of wiseness (an experience, an issue, a desire, an "I'd like being teached this way", a difficulty, whatever everyone might find useful). And once joined, to participate in free and open spirit, contributing bits of materials, actions, feedbacks.

This group is not modeled after a traditional command-and-control organization. We strongly believe powerful results can emerge from person-to-person interactions, once a set of basic concerns, feelings and aspiration is shared. Like ants, each of us does little things, in the time and way we can afford.

Given its nature, we expect this group to be of direct immediate and practical interest to: - Teachers - Girl students (and interested boys too - we welcome anyone) - Parents

These figures may be the "final users" and "main contributors" to the group,

We welcome the contribution of scientists (especially women scientists, but once again, we are open to anyone) willing to share some pearl of experience and vision, and to volunteer copyright-free class material pertaining their experience.

We would also like the initiative be known to - Policymakers - Children and women rights activists - And of course, anyone interested.


Pending issues:

  • Web site (we may initially use the pulsewire server, but in case of technical difficulty, or would the mass of things grow, I may open a site, just as a repository of class material, and then link back to Pulsewire where the major part of activities will be concentrated).

  • Type of application request. Could we admit anyone without approval, but urging them to give something? (They might refuse, of course, and that would be OK - as I see many Pulsewire members don't like or can't add their own presentation, yet they may be interested).

  • "Powerful testimonials". Do we need them? In my opinion support (and maybe contribution) by some "big name" who carried innovative ideas in science (names of the "great women in science" are many) could help a lot. The problem with famous people is, they are not easily accessible (I understand that, and respect their need of privacy). Many "great women in science" are not "famous" however.

  • The "difference" - to date there exist various initiatives and groups aimed at promoting science among girls. Typically they are sponsored and run by important women scientists who provide mentoring, presentations, and other things. As I see, our initiative differs in being a possible grassroots movement, and I foresee no serious overlap and "competition" (this "might" happen, but really is not something useful - we're in a position to cooperate).

Comments 8

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  • Jacqueline Patiño
    Jan 02, 2010
    Jan 02, 2010

    I think it is wonderful. I want to sign in! And also, if you see a difficulty in making people contribute at the time they sign in, then we could make it optional, this way the ones who want to share will do it.

    Also, I think it would be great to have some famous people contribute. I know one famous woman. Maybe she will be able to make a contribution, if she gets interested in this, I will ask her as soon as the group opens.

    Congratulations! This is a good way to begin this period of the year.



  • Mauri Favaron
    Jan 04, 2010
    Jan 04, 2010

    Jackie, thank you of your so warm support!

    And, congratulation from my side too: this initiative is "ours", and I think this is something marvellous: so often people do thing and claim them "theirs". And they don't see on how many other people contributed to this effort and made it possible.

    I see our case is different: is spontaneous, and the reward is "just in the usefulness and warmth itself" (plus, an occasion to interact positively, constructing things peacefully ;-) ). These "my" words, you see, are not so original: they were implied in your beautiful and moving end-year post, you inspired them, and who knows, they all are constantly inspired bu "something larger" than we may comprehend.

    (A silly example (an almost-joke): I often wonder how is it possible for Italy to still exist alive: if you take for granted all what television and newspapers claim, we should not exist. But we're here! As politicians and famous people disintegrate things, an immense multitude of tiny people seems to glue them back again. It may be quite invisible, but you are right: is also quite a force).

    I too know some interesting people. I hope they will like to contribute a bit of their expertise and wiseness. I have to finalize the homework before we may contact them, so that they can find the group description, and decide whether to share, join and contribute, in freedom and with something to grasp. These people may not be considered "famous", but are very passionate.

    I've also some "famous" (and semi-famous) names, but no direct access to them. I'm exploring how to connect.

    Love, and a big hug


  • Sunita Basnet
    Jan 03, 2010
    Jan 03, 2010

    Dear Mauri,

    I like the way you present here. I am also very concerned of pending issues because in the pulse wire we can only post the text words but not even slides and others material, so I think it's good to open another blog so that we can referred slides and another material to the new blog and give the link in pulse wire. However, it will take time to open a blog and set the privacy.

    I have also seen that in many blogs because of low privacy, some people leave their funny and advertising link in the blog so we also need to create the privacy to join the group in our blog.

    I will fully support you and thank you so much for your email. Still now we have server problem, we are unable to recover November and December Document............ Hopefully after some days we willl be able to access it but not sure....

    Anyway, nice work friend, please go ahead to create a group.................... I wonder about our group image??? what types of image are we going to out in our group.....?? Just a curious...........

    Jackie sister, Thank you so much for requesting your friend... It will be our pleasure........ Thank you...

  • Mauri Favaron
    Jan 04, 2010
    Jan 04, 2010

    Sunita, my dear, your encouraging and thoughtful voice is ever welcome!

    I'm sorry the server problem looks hard. I've had a similar problem last year at work, and understand the difficulty - the thrill, too. I warmly hope you did not lose works...

    Thank you of the suggestion on the blog. You are right: if it is open, then people might send unwanted, or (yucky!) advertising, or (twice yucky) offensive material, and then it would be difficult to fix.

    Might we attempt another way? For my work I found a very good provider offering plain web space. The basic contract is cheap, and I can easily afford. In change of this yearly fare, they give three e-mail addresses and (if I remember well) 10 GByte of backed-up space. One thing we might do is "just" preparing a small web site, in which shared material is made accessible after having been "organized" (what about reading, "peer-reviewing" (as much as we - or someone helping us) can do, and then making downloadable through easy-to-access directory pages?).

    If the workload is "small", I might prepare and maintain the pages. But about my aesthetical sense... Surely I'll need some way, if we decide to go this way. "Any" help, both from people in the group willing to volunteer, and also professional work (maybe in a second phase, when things are a bit more established, and we may look for some (non-obtrusive) sponsor) (in this moment I'm not trying to imagine "who" this sponsor might be - time will indicate).

    In practice, this ancillary site might work more or less so: - People wiling to connect do through the group page, in Pulsewire. - There, we may publish the e-mail address for contributing material. - People then send their materials to the e-mail. - There, the material is checked in, and added to site (or not, in this case with motivations).

    I'm a bit afraid this idea looks a bit like a "scientific journal". Fortunately, it is not periodical, and may evolve at the pace most useful.

    What do you think about?

    The other point is, the image.

    I'd like to share my idea; if you or anyone else have any different one, please tell me: you're right, the image is important.

    My "idea" (well, "idea" is maybe a stronger word than reality... ;-) ) is, in the moment, of using a "Fibonacci flower" (forgive me, the name is mine, and guess it may mean nothing without an explain; actually, I'm imagining a flower (hand-drawn) with a number of petals in the Fibonacci series (5 or 8 in particular), with a number of internal parts also in the same number, and with some indicators suggesting the mathematical regularities inside.

    I'm a bit afraid this is not highly original.

    Another idea (more difficult to implement - at least for me) is using an image of Sophie Germain during her childhood. This image is highly attracting to me, as that "Very Big Name" had an inhumanely strong passion half hindered and half supported by her family. I said it's difficult, because I tried in one of my posts, and the result was, well... Better I don't say. I'd like to retry, however. If you know someone gifted in drawing (and willing to contribute free ;-) ), we may include her immediately in te group...

    Do you have some idea? I too am curious!

    Love, and a warm hug.


  • Jade Frank
    Jan 03, 2010
    Jan 03, 2010

    Hi Mauri, Sunita and Jackie,

    Wow - I am so moved by your initiative in creating such a space for women to share, learn and support each other in math and other sciences! Mauri, you have really paved the way for a space of learning and sharing in math here on PulseWire and I thank you for taking that important role in our community.

    As you mentioned, PulseWire may currently lack some features that you need to make your group most effective in your mission. However, we are interested in hearing what exactly you envision and need for your platform because PulseWire was created for you - so that you can not only speak for yourselves, but to connect with each other to solve global issues. And we strive to support you in every way we can to provide a successful platform for this to happen. This year we are working to create new and exciting features to make PulseWire more user-friendly and multi-media rich. So we would love your input on how we can support you and are open to listening to your needs and ideas.

    For the time being - I suggest creating a PulseWire Group - to at least create a space to begin planning and discussing the Math Support Gals group and to begin sharing materials. Let me know if you need assistance in setting this up! PulseWire groups can be set up as private if you wish to make it so.

    It's amazing to watch you working together in this great initiative!

    In support and friendship, Jade

  • Mauri Favaron
    Jan 04, 2010
    Jan 04, 2010

    Jade, dear!

    Thank so much of your warm reply!

    How are you? It's a bit late to wish you a merry Christmas, but I still am in time for wishing you happy next years to come, full of peace, love, and positive surprises.

    And yes, we'll need some help, from the technical side. "The" problem might be with sharing materials like presentations (Powerpoint or, maybe even better, OpenOffice which is free and so accessible always where the problem is heavier), booklets (in PDF?) and other "heavy" things (movies? in these days videoclip might be great didactical materials, and sooner or later someone would like to provide - even I've used them in some of my presentations, but understand they get really large).

    I'd like very much this be possible directly in Pulsewire. That would be the most direct way. Sure, Pulsewire will be the center of all visible on-going activity and reflexion. Would not be possible to share "heavy" materials directly inside, I've seen in the group opening page a web site may be specified. Provisionally, I might open one and host there the material. It might be a huge work, and I'm a bit afraid.

    As a direct help from the Pulsewire staff, I add my voice to Sunita's, asking if may become possible to host OpenOffice presentations, PDFs and other material directly in Pulsewire (do OpenOffice has virus problems? Am not an expert, but will ask).

    Thank you once more, and a lovely hug.


  • Jade Frank
    Jan 07, 2010
    Jan 07, 2010

    Hi Mauri,

    I have passed along your groups ideas and needs to the rest of the World Pulse team and we are keeping these ideas in mind during the planning stages of our site redesign. We hope to provide the dream platform for women to speak for themselves and connect with each other to solve global problems. Thank you for continuing to inspire us with your own vision for PulseWire and for women worldwide!

    Cheers, Jade

  • Mauri Favaron
    Jan 07, 2010
    Jan 07, 2010

    You're always so nice, in helping us!

    Pulsewire is great today, and I'm confident it will be even better in future.

    I also want you know how I appreciate your person-to-person kind listening and support.

    Cheers, and a hug