Ellen Abrams


Ellen Abrams is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities Scholars Program. She earned her PhD from the Cornell Department of Science and Technology Studies in August 2020. Her current book project, Making Mathematics American, examines the intersection of gender, professionalization, and abstraction during the early-twentieth-century growth of mathematics in the United States. By exploring the technical development of mathematics alongside popular, administrative, and biographical sources, she demonstrates that while the foundational definition of mathematics was at stake around the turn of the century, so too were conceptions of what counted as mathematical work, who counted as a mathematician, and how each was thought to contribute to American society. Overall, Making Mathematics American points to the simultaneous consolidation and constriction of the category "mathematician" during the early twentieth century. In her next project, Abrams establishes a sort of inverted counterpart to the first by examining the postwar expansion of the category "mathematician" and related attempts to diversify the mathematics profession during the Cold War.