Marian Forster, Math's "hidden figure"

Monday, May 13, 2024
1960s black and white photo of a young Marian

“I decided to do mathematics out of defiance,” Marian Forster says, chuckling and leaning forward in her chair. “I pretty much got a message from society, my school, and my family that I was not very smart, and that I should take typing in Grade 10 and become a typist like my mother. And then that would be it.”

Forster (BSc ’64) was one of the first female math students at the University of Waterloo, and an essential part of Waterloo’s computing group following her graduation in the mid 1960s. However, unlike many of her male peers,  Forster’s contributions have largely been forgotten.

“I worked with Wes Graham for two-and-a-half years,” she says, “and I don’t have a single photo of my time there. I guess you can call me something of a ‘hidden figure.’”

Read the full story from Waterloo News to learn more.