Soraya Sherif


Born: 3 July 1934 in Egypt

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We only have limited information about Soraya Sherif, but we give what details we have below. The main source of our information is [1] and we begin by giving this in full. We note that this was written in 1963 so only gives details up to this time:-

The youngest and only woman professor of pure mathematics in the UAR.

The procession of exceptional women in the U.A.R., the end of which is nowhere in sight, is proud to count among its participants Dr Soraya Sherif, whose career gives evidence that the time when women were second-class citizens, sitting at home, has long gone. Dr Soraya Sherif excels in a field in which few men rarely succeed, in a domain from which most people shy away, one which requires close-to-genius intelligence - pure mathematics. From an early age she showed remarkable aptitude for this difficult branch of science. She must have inherited some of her talent from her father, who was employed in the Ministry of Wakfs' Accounts Department. She began her primary education at Mansura, and continued it at Mehalla el Kubra, where she obtained her certificate. She finished her Secondary School education at the Guiza Girls' School due to the fact that her father's work took him to the capital at that time. She earned two diplomas at this school.

Soraya Sherif comes from a family of eight children, four girls and four boys, most of whom are university students at the Faculties of Engineering and Commerce. On completion of her secondary school education, Soraya Sherif enrolled at the Women's College of Ain Shams University, in the Mathematics Section. After four years of study she graduated in 1956 at the top of her class. immediately nominated as a teacher at the Moharram Bey School in Alexandria. Some time after, a newspaper announcement caught her attention. It was an offer of a scholarship in mathematics for a Ph.D. degree at an English university. Soraya applied for, and won, the scholarship.

In 1958 she left for Nottingham University, where she studied for two and a half years to get her M.Sc. (Mathematics). From Nottingham, she went to Selly Oak, where, after staying for two years and three months at Birmingham University she received her Ph.D. In January 1963 Dr Soraya Sherif returned to the UAR, armed with her diplomas. She was appointed to Ain Shams University as Professor of Pure Mathematics at the age of little over 26. Her success was the more outstanding as she is the youngest professor in the UAR, the only woman professor in the field of pure mathematics and because she was chosen for the chair of professor at the University without first working as a demonstrator. This, however, is not the full measure of her brilliant mind. Dr Soraya Sherif is known throughout the world for her theories. She discovered new solutions to the Tauber theorems. She ranks third in the world in her field, after the Englishman, Harry Pitt, Professor at Nottingham, and Professor Tauber who ranks first.

While overseas, Dr Soraya Sherif took part in international conferences in Britain and Europe. The first conference she attended was at Cardiff in 1959 [the British Mathematical Colloquium]. In 1962, she was delegated by the UAR Embassy to attend international conferences in London and Stockholm. During her university days in England, Dr Soraya Sherif also pursued other interests. She undertook to explain to Western people the degree of culture and the intellectual and social standards of the Arabs. At Birmingham, she was president of the Arab Society, a group formed at the University by all the Arab students coming from Middle East countries. At Birmingham, the Arab students, upon the initiative and the direction of Dr Soraya Sherif, sponsored an exhibition, with photographs, to show the major projects of the UAR, such as the High Dam, the new factories, land reclamation projects, Suez Canal development for the improvement of navigation. Posters and charts depicting the progress of the UAR in the industrial and agricultural fields were displayed. With the assistance of the UAR Embassy in London, Dr Soraya Sherif and the Arab Society were also able to put on display pharaonic statuettes and products typical of Khan El Khalili. Feature films and documentaries were run during the exhibition. Among those shown was the Egyptian-produced film "Djamila," starring the UAR's popular Magda, and directed by Yussef Shahin, depicting the struggle and sufferings of the Algerian heroine.

In the UAR, Dr Soraya Sherif takes an active part in the political life of the country. She is a member of the Arab Socialist Union's Committee at the University. She was elected from among twenty men and women University professors to membership of the committee. She presents a programme on UAR Television, and has many social activities apart from her work at the University, which already consumes much of her time. Egyptian woman, indeed, have turned the former idleness into busy and rewarding work. Asked about international conferences, Dr Soraya Sherif said that participation in conferences is the best means for mutual exchange of ideas and experiences with foreign colleagues, and for opening new horizons for our scientists in particular and the country in general.

Soraya Sherif was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham in 1963 for her thesis Tauberian theorems. Her thesis advisor was Brian Kutner.

We now list the fifteen papers by Soraya Sherif that we have found. We give some comments after the list.

  1. Brian Kuttner and Soraya Sherif, A relation between Tauberian classes, Quart. J. Math. Oxford Ser. (2) 13 (1962), 35-39.

  2. Soraya Sherif, Tauberian constants for the Riesz transforms of different orders, Math. Z. 82 (1963), 283-298.

  3. Soraya Sherif, A note on a theorem by J. Karamata, Quart. J. Math. Oxford Ser. (2) 15 (1964), 176-178.

  4. Soraya  Sherif, Tauberian classes and Tauberian theorems, Quart. J. Math. Oxford Ser. (2) 15 (1964), 303-308.

  5. Soraya Sherif, Tauberian constants for general triangular matrices and certain special types of Hausdorff means, Math. Z. 89 (1965), 312-323.

  6. Soraya Sherif, A Tauberian constant for the (S, mu_{n+1}) transformation, Tôhoku Math. J. (2) 19 (1967), 110-125.

  7. Soraya Sherif, A Tauberian relation between the Borel and the Lototsky transforms of series, Pacific J. Math. 27 (1968), 145-154.

  8. Soraya Sherif, Total regularity of quasi-Hausdorff transformations, Proc. Math. Phys. Soc. A. R. E. (Egypt) No. 33 (1969), 15-17.

  9. Soraya Sherif, Absolute Tauberian constants for Cesàro means, Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 168 (1972), 233-241.

  10. Soraya Sherif, Absolute Tauberian constants for Hausdorff transformations, Canad. J. Math. 26 (1974), 19-26.

  11. Soraya Sherif, Absolute Tauberian constants for Cesàro means of a function, Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 224 (2) (1976), 231-242.

  12. Soraya Sherif and Hanaa  Hamad, On the ordinary and the absolute Tauberian constants for Hausdorff transformations, Indian J. Pure Appl. Math. 7 (10) (1976), 1091-1095.

  13. Soraya Sherif, Absolute Tauberian constants for quasi-Hausdorff series-to-series transformations, Indian J. Pure Appl. Math. (3) (1977), 363-373.

  14. Soraya Sherif and Layla Awaad, On Tauberian estimates for quasi-Hausdorff transformations, Indian J. Pure Appl. Math. 8 (3) (1977), 374-378.

  15. Soraya Sherif, Absolute Tauberian constants for Abel means of a function, Indian J. Pure Appl. Math. (1) (1977), 1-9.
Sherif and Kuttner introduce the paper (1) with the following sentences:-
Tauberian classes have been investigated in detail by Pitt. Other Tauberian classes have been considered by Agnew. The object of the present paper is to obtain a relation between the classes of Pitt and those of Agnew. One part of our theorem (that numbered (II) in what follows) was proved originally by Dr J Copping, and an acknowledgement is therefore due. His proof has not been published, and, because our present proof is somewhat simpler, he has suggested that it should be published instead.
The paper was received on 3 April 1961 and published in 1962. The address on the paper is the University of Birmingham.

Paper (2), received on 10 September 1962 and published in 1963, has the address University College for Girls, Ain Shams University, Cairo, U.A.R. In the paper Sherif gives the following acknowledgement:-

I would like to express my gratitude to Dr B Kuttner for his guidance and encouragement during the presentation of this paper.
Paper (3) has a similar acknowledgement and the address of Cairo. Paper (4) also has the address of Cairo. The 1965 paper (5) has Sherif's address as University College for Girls, Ain Shams University, Cairo, UAR. The paper (6), received in July 1966, has the address Pure Mathematics Department, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, showing that Sherif made a research visit to Birmingham in 1966-67. Paper (9), dated 1972, has her permanent address as University College for Girls, Ain Shams University but a current address of Department of Mathematics, Education College for Women, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Papers (10) to (15), all have the Riyadh address.

Sherif certainly returned to the College for Girls, Ain Shams University, for in 2014 she was named as the first supervisor of the thesis Solutions of Dynamic Equations by Nesreen Abd El Hamed Abd El Hameed Yaseen submitted to the Department of Mathematics, University College for Girls, Ain Shams University for a Ph. D. in Pure Mathematics. Sharif is recorded on the thesis as Professor of Pure Mathematics, College for Women, An Shames University (a slightly different transliteration of Ain Shams University, which is also sometimes written as Ein Shams University).

Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson


A Reference (One book/article)

Mathematicians born in the same country

Additional Material in MacTutor

  1. Entry in the list of African women PhDs

Other Web sites
  1. Mathematical Genealogy Project
  2. MathSciNet Author profile
  3. zbMATH entry

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JOC/EFR March 2019
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School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews, Scotland

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