Cover art for podcast People Behind the Science Podcast - Stories from Scientists about Science, Life, Research, and Science Careers

People Behind the Science Podcast - Stories from Scientists about Science, Life, Research, and Science Careers

300 EpisodesProduced by Dr. Marie McNeely, featuring top scientists speaking about their life and cWebsite

Are you searching for great stories to ignite your curiosity, teach you to perform better in life and career, inspire your mind, and make you laugh along the way? In this science podcast, Dr. Marie McNeely introduces you to the brilliant researchers behind the latest scientific discoveries. Join us … read more


489: Mathematician and Communicator with an Eye for Modeling Cataract Development in Populations Over Time - Dr. Talithia Williams

Dr. Talithia Williams is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Associate Dean for Research and Experiential Learning at Harvey Mudd College. In addition, Talithia is Host of the PBS Series NOVA Wonders and author of the book Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of Mathematics. Talithia is a mathematician who does disease modeling. She has been working with the World Health Organization to create models of the rates at which groups of people develop cataracts over time. Left untreated, cataracts can cause partial or complete blindness. In the U.S., cataract surgery is quick and accessible, but this is not the case in other countries. Knowing where there is the greatest need for treatment is important for the World Health Organization as they make decisions on where to send ophthalmologists to perform surgeries. In addition to being a mathematician and researcher, Talithia is a mother of three boys, a wife of 15 years, a TV show host, an author, and a person of faith. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, being involved in her church, volunteering, and helping people in her community. She received a B.S. in mathematics from Spelman College, and while an undergraduate student, Talithia conducted research at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. After graduating, Talithia went on to earn a master’s degree in mathematics from Howard University, a master’s degree in statistics from Rice University, and a PhD in statistics from Rice University. Prior to joining the faculty at Harvey Mudd College, Talithia conducted research at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the NASA Johnson Space Center, and the National Security Agency. Talithia has received numerous honors and awards throughout her career, including the Mathematical Association of America’s Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member and The Claremont Colleges Diversity Mentor Award. In our interview Talithia shares more about her life and work.

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