Dusa McDuff was born on October 18, 1945 in London England. Her father, Conrad Waddington Hal, was a biologist and a specialist in Animal Genetics (Riddle, 2014). Her mother Justin Blanco White was an architect in Edinburgh which was a Scottish development office. After her birth in London, she spent most of her life in Scotland where her father was working as one of the professors in the department of Genetics at the University of Edinburg. McDuff started her early Education at a girl’s school that was educated in Edinburg (AWM, 2005). The standards of Education in her place of learning were very lower when compared to the corresponding boy’s school. Despite all these challenges, her mathematics teacher was exceptionally good.
Riddle (2014) contends that as a teen, McDuff experienced very many challenges especially in her education. This is because most of her male counterparts were perceived to be better in matters related to education than female students. She started her family obligations as she was involved in active cooking and washing her boyfriend’s clothes before she joined University. McDuff received a scholarship from the University of Cambridge but turned it down. She instead joined University of Edinburg in favor of staying close to her boyfriend in Scotland (AWM, 2005).
According to AWM (2005), The University of Edinburg awarded her a Bachelors of Science Degree in Math in 1967. She then joined a graduate school in Cambridge. During this time, she pursued a doctoral course at the Girton College, Cambridge. She evaluated problems related to functional analysis. For the first time, she went into the annals of mathematics when she solved a complex problem that was about von Neumann algebras. This was one of the best pieces of mathematics that she produced in her lifetime. During this time, she was under the guidance of mathematician George Reid (AWM, 2005).
In 1971, she was awarded a PHD. From 1970 to 1972, she conducted some fellowship research in Cambridge (Riddle, 2014). She had some lecture lessons that she was in charge of at the universities of Warwick and York until 1976. During this period, she also some obligations at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a vising assistant professor. She also had an obligation in Princeton as a visiting assistant professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. This lasted for two semesters.
Following the fact that she wanted to be very close to her husband, she followed him to Moscow for a visit for six months. She did not have any plans or intentions for going to Russia. This was meant to be just a plain visit. Innokenty Annensky was the symbolist poet that his husband was undertaking studies about. In Moscow, she became close to Israel Gelfand who also became very resource to her mathematical life. She had been working on a thesis that was under functional analysis.
Riddle (2014) outlines that it was with the influence of Gelfand that she changed her mathematical endeavors. She developed her interest in topology. This remained her major mathematical field for the rest of her life. From 1972, she began working on classification of spacing of foliations in collaboration with Graeme Segal. She was also actively involved in grouping diffeomorphisms in the exploration of construction of interesting spacing. Diffeomorphisms for an integral part of her work that pertains to the structures of geometry. Symplectic form and volume elements in geometry were her major areas of concentration in her work (AWM, 2005).
In 1978, McDuff becaome an assistant professor in Stony Brook where he become the assistant professor in Mathematics at the University of New York. During this time, she became remarried to her husband who they had divorced in 1977. It was during this time that she gave birth to another child (Riddle, 2014). It was during this time that she struggled and achieved balance between three noble titles, a teacher, a wife, a mother and a scholar. In 1984, she became a professor at SUNY, Stony Brook. In the year 1998, she was elevated to a position of a distinguished professor. In 2008, she retired from the Stony Brook (Riddle, 2014).
According to Riddle (2014), Professor McDuff held a prestigious position at Helen Lyttle Kimmel ’42 where she was the mathematics chairperson at the Barnard College from 2007. Research has been a continuous activity in the life of McDuff. One of the latest research she conducted in mathematics includes the sympectic topology, the global perspective (AWM, 2005). At Stony Brook, she was very influential as she rose to the chair of math department. She is also a very inspirational figure in the world. This is through the campaigns that she initiated in supporting girls and women in science. She was actively involved in a program called Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), at the Stony Brook. This is an initiative that is funded by National Science Foundation and its major aim is to support and motivate women who are fresh in collleges who have the intentions of leading a career in Mathematics, science and engineering (Riddle, 2014).
In conclusion, McDuff has been a very influential person in the development of mathematics. She is a very resourceful person in understanding and critical comprehension of symplectic structures. She has also been a major resource in determining and evaluating the relationship between the structures and other mathematics fields (Riddle, 2014). In the development of Mathematics, she has initiated different aspects of geometry into the mathematics mainstream. She has been honored with numerous awards in that regard. Besides her scholarly endeavors, she is a family person. She is married to John Milnor. They have been blessed with two children. One son and a daughter who lives in London.