Hidden Figures

Dr. Emmy Murphy

Assistant Professor of Mathematics, MIT and Northwestern University

Hidden Figures— The Gender Gap: Then and Now

A Q&A discussion of gender inequality at NASA and throughout the sciences. 

Martha's Vineyard Film Society Tisbury, MA

Film Synopsis

A team of African American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program's first successful space missions.

As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, three brilliant African American women at NASA — Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) — became the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race, and captivated the world.

About the Speaker

Dr. Emmy Murphy is a geometric topologist, studying h-principles and symplectic/contact geometry. She received a BS from University of Nevada, Reno in 2007, and a PhD from Stanford University in 2012. After spending two years as a CLE Moore Instructor at MIT, she was appointed as an assistant professor in 2014. 

Her research focuses on flexibility phenomena in symplectic and contact geometry. Flexibility and h-principles are tools for circumventing the subtlety of this geometry, in effect reducing geometric problems to pure
topology. Dr. Murphy applies these techniques to high dimensional symplectic/contact manifolds, geometric structures linking Hamiltonian dynamics, complex geometry, and geometric topology.

In 2015 she received a Sloan Research fellowship. In January 2017, she was awarded the Birman Research Prize in Topology and Geometry. With this prize, the Association for Women in Mathematics recognizes Dr. Murphy's outstanding contributions to symplectic and contact topology.