Sylvia Wiegand

Women in STEM
Women in STEM
Sylvia Wiegand

Birth: March 8, 1945

Specialty: Commutative Algebra 

Major Contributions:

Professor Emerita, University of Nebraska

Fellow, American Mathematical Society

Former President, Association for Women in Mathematics

Image Courtesy of University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Spending  her career as a teacher at various universities including University of Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Purdue University as well as being a researcher in commutative algebra, Dr. Sylvia Wiegand has been a staunch advocate for women in mathematics. 

Born in Cape Town, South Africa she moved to the United States in 1949, where her interest in mathematics developed as she sought to solve puzzles put before her by mathematician father.  She earned a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin in 1972, and her thesis entitled “Galois Theory of Essential Expansion of Modules and Vanishing Tensor Powers” served as parts of her first published paper.  Wiegand has served as editor on two books and has published over fifty papers, seven co-authored with her husband, Roger, who works in the same field. 

In 2005, in honor of the work of both Wiegands the University of Nebraska hosted the Nebraska Commutative Algebra Conference: WiegandFest.  This wasn’t the first time Sylvia Wiegand received praise for her work. In 2000 she was presented with the University of Nebraska Outstanding Contribution to the Status of Women award due to her many efforts to promote mathematics to women including making the field more welcoming. In the late 1980s she headed a search committee at University of Nebraska to bring more female professors to the math department, successfully filling two positions.  The department also started the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in mathematics which held its 26th annual conference this year. 

During her term as the president of the Association for Women in Mathematics, she was involved in promotion efforts of math and science issues on Capitol Hill and was an advocate for more federal support for education and research in both fields. Elected as a fellow of the American Mathematical society in 2012, she has continued her research with another book published in 2021 as well as serving as a professor emeritus at University of Nebraska.   In 2019 the Second International Meeting on Commutative Algebra and Related Area was held in Brazil partially to celebrate Roger and Sylvia Wiegand’s combined 150th birthday and their over forty years of work in the field of commutative algebra and the wider mathematical community.

Written by Angela Goad


Sylvia Wiegand (UNL)

Biographies of Women Mathematicians: Sylvia Wiegand

Wikipedia: Sylvia Wiegand

Association for Women in Mathematics

Commutative Algebra: 150 Years with Roger and Sylvia Wiegand

See Also:

Wikipedia: Commutative Algebra

Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics

American Mathematical Society