Sophia Jahns receives International Fatma Moalla Award for the Popularization of Mathematics

Sophia Jahns, Doctor of Mathematics and science communicator. Photo: Julien Sessler

This year‘s International Fatma Moalla Award for the Popularization of Mathematics goes to Sophia Jahns, who is currently a scientific employee and PhD candidate at the Mathematical Institute of University of Tübingen. It is the first edition of this bi-annual prize, which is awarded by the Tunesian Women Mathematician Association (TWMA). It was proposed by and named after Fatma Moalla, the first Tunesian to receive the aggrégation in mathematics in France, and the first Tunesian woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics in France.

The award-winning contribution is entitled „Getting to know a beetle’s world - classification of closed 3-dimensional manifolds“. It explores through the eyes of a beetle in an imaginary computer game different kinds of curved spaces. The classification of these spaces - called closed 3-dimensional manifolds - has been a long-standing problem; mathematicians tried for almost a century to get a complete picture of which kinds of these objects exist. This was achieved as late as 2003 by Grigorij Perelman in a historic breakthrough.

Sophia Jahns‘ text introduces the mathematical concepts in a visual way and traces the historic development of the proof, outlining how the different mathematical areas of geometry and topology interweave in the classification of 3-dimensional manifolds.

The scientific referee for the award, Dr. Ali Maalaoui, states in his referee report that “the way [the topic] was presented makes it a perfect fit within the scope of the criteria of the award“.
The full text of Sophia Jahn is available under:

Sophia Jahns is involved in different science communication projects around the globe, designing and teaching workshops for various audiences as well as working with museums and in the publishing sector.

The award ceremony will take place in Tunis in November 2018, with participation of Fatma Moalla.

Carla Cederbaum