Luz Myriam Echeverry

Country of birth: 
Colombia
Country of studies: 
France
Country of residence: 
Colombia

From Women Mathematicians around the World, a Gallery of Portraits

Universidad Sergio Arboleda, Escuela de Matem\'aticas,

Calle 74 # 14-14\, Bogota, Colombia

lechever at uniandes.edu.co

Education

1971: Mathematics, University of los Andes, Bogot\a Colombia.

1974: Masters in Numerical Analysis, University of Dijon, France

1978: PhD, University Paris VI, France

Professional experience

since 2008: Professor-researcher, University Sergio Arboleda, Bogot\'a, Colombia.

1976--2006: Associate Professor, University Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia.

Questionnaire

How and when did you come to choose to do mathematics?

I chose mathematics in my last year of high school in 1967. I liked mathematics and physics very much, these were my favorite subjects.

Were you then encouraged by your family, friends or by other people around you?

I was encouraged by my father and my professors, in particular by Professor Puyana.

Did you come across obstacles in pursuing your career as a mathematician?

No, we were several women studying Mathematics at university. For the Colombians it was well looked upon for a woman to be a teacher and that she should study before getting married. After my PhD in Paris I started working at the university of Los Andes. In my generation in Colombia few women got jobs at university and the colleagues were very kind to us, maybe because we were so few and did not represent a threat.

In retrospect, are you happy to have chosen mathematics or do you have some regrets? What are for you the joys of mathematics? What are for you the hardships of mathematics?

Yes, I am happy to have chosen mathematics. I always loved solving problems and for me it was delightful teaching to young people and to see how they turned out to be successful in their lives. The hardships in mathematics for me were to pursue your work even when not getting the results you are expecting.

What would you recommend a young woman in your country wanting to start a career in mathematics ?

I would recommend the same for a man or a woman: to love mathematics and to enjoy it.

Could you write a few lines in an understandable manner to non-experts, describing your topics of research and your favorite personal achievement in mathematics?

My interest is in solving numerically differential equations. I presently have two projects:

  • Celestial mechanics; we are studying how to move from one satellite orbit around the earth to another using mathematical optimization technics. This is a work related to the project ``Libertad II''; it is a project in order to send a second Colombian satellite to space.

  • Epidemiology, we try to study the spread of malaria investigating the migration of people.

My favorite achievement is to have taken part in building up a good Mathematical department at the university of Los Andes. I believe that the new generation of mathematicians now working at our department will be successful in their work thanks to the seeds of our initial input. Also I was the first professor with a PhD in Numerical Analysis in Colombia and my work arose the interest of many students for this area of research.