Yukari Ito

Country of birth: 
Japan
Country of studies: 
Japan
Country of residence: 
Japan

From Women Mathematicians around the World, a Gallery of Portraits

Graduate School of Mathematics, Nagoya University,

Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8602, Japan

y-ito at math.nagoya-u.ac.jp

Education

1992: BS at School of mathematics, Nagoya University.

1994: MS at University of Tokyo.

1996: PhD at University of Tokyo.

Professional experience

since 2007: Associate professor at Nagoya University

2003--2007: Lecturer at Nagoya University

1996--2003: Assistant Professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University

Questionnaire

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

When I was 18 years old, I went to a preparatory school, a special school to prepare an entrance exam to university. Half of the mathematics teachers were real mathematicians and talked about their research. I became very interested in modern mathematics and wanted to study more mathematics.

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

Yes. My parents wanted me to do what I wanted to do. My friends at high school also did what they wanted to do. So there was no problem in doing mathematics.

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

No.

Do you think some possible difficulties are related to being a woman?

If a female PhD student marries, nobody thinks she needs a job. But if a male PhD student marries, everybody thinks he does need a job soon.

Having a baby makes it difficult to find enough time to study.

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?

I am happy to have chosen mathematics because I like both studying and teaching mathematics.

The joy of mathematics is that I can think anytime, anywhere very freely. The hard thing in studying mathematics now is to find enough time to think about mathematical problems without any duties at university and home. But when I discuss mathematical problems with other mathematicians and students, I am very happy.

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

You should study mathematics as hard as possible when you are young, and find good friends who encourage you to do mathematics.

You should also write papers and give many talks, then you will be able to get a job soon. And then you can do anything! (where anything encompasses mathematics and private life). Moreover, you had better visit and stay in other countries as a PostDoc when you are young.

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 major in mathematics is Algebraic Geometry. In particular, I am studying singularities and their resolution. A singularity is a strange point in a space and I am working on how to remove it. It is called a resolution of singularities. Moreover, I am interested in the correspondence between algebraic properties and geometric properties of the resolution. I studied the 3-dimensional cases and the results were related with superstring theory in physics.