Women in Mathematics Who were they? When did they live? What did they contribute?
History of Women in Mathematics Education
Theano (c 16th century BC ) Wife of Pythagoras. Ran School of Pythagoras after his death. Wrote works on the Golden Ratio
Hypatia 355 A.D. to 370 A. D. -415? Greek - philosopher, astronomer, mathematician and teacher. Father was Theon. He designed her education. Head of the Neoplatonic School in Alexandria, Egypt. Killed by a group of Christians in 415. Made idea of conics easier to understand – hyperbolas, parabolas and ellipses. Joint work with her father on Euclid’s Elements. Credited with process to distill water and inventing a astrolabe and a hydroscope. “Mother of mathematics”
Florence Nightingale 12.5.1820 –13.8. 1910 Mother disapproved of studying maths. Despite her fathers love for math he urged her to study more female appropriate subjects. She studies geometry, algebra and arithmetic. She tutored children – lesson plans in the British Museum. Girls geography education should be made arithmetic Prophetess of Applied Statistics Work in medical statistics – Statistical Society of England. Invented Polar Area Chart in the form of polar wedges to dramatize the needless deaths caused by unsanitary conditions and the need for reform. Her statistical approach convinced the Queen Victoria, the military and parliament to introduce hospital reform. Consultant on army health to US government during the American Civil War.
Florence Contd. "to bring the best that she has, whatever that is to the work of God's world... to do the thing that is good, whether it is 'suitable for a woman' or not." She cautions: "which urges women to do all that men do...merely because men do it, and without regard to whether this is the best that women can do."
Winifred Edgerton Merrill 24.9.1862 – 6.9.1951 Private tutors in her early life. BA from Wellesley College in 1883. Her thesis "Multiple Integrals“ was denied first time. First American woman to receive a PhD in math in 1886 from Columbia University. Worked on the geometrical interpretation of multiple integrals and figure out the computation of the orbit of a comet. Established first woman's college of Columbia. Born in Ripon, Wisconsin. “She opened the door”
Maria Agenesi May 16, 1718 – January 9, 1799 Most important work: Analytical Institutions gave a clear summary of the state of knowledge in mathematical analysis. It included: analysis of finite quantities; elementary problems of maxima, minima, tangents, and inflection points; analysis of infinitely small quantities; integral calculus; and the inverse method of tangents and differential equations. Born in Milan Italy
Father was a professor of mathematics at University of Bologna.
Broad minded and wealthy family.
Perform for her furthers friends.
By 13 years, she spoke Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, and Spanish.
Lost her mother at 14 which resulted in being in charge of the household.
Num like existence.
Wrote Analytical Institutions- used widely a textbook.
-2 volumes, 1,020 page manual
Challenged belief of male intellectual superiority
Diamond Gifts from Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Pope Benedict XIV named her honor chair of mathematics and natural philosophy at the University of Bologna ‘Witch of Agenesi’ Curve. Father died in 1752
Studied Theology and helped the poor.
Died deaf and blind at 81. “..every Woman ought to exert herself, and endeavor to promote the glory of her sex, and to contribute her utmost.” (1738, M. Agenesi)
Sophie Germain 1776-1830 Grew up during the French Revolution confined to her house. Legend of Archimedes death. Family thought studying was improper. Studied in Ecole Polytechnic as “Monsieur LeBlanc.” Became a protégé of Lagrange. 1801 – Gauss – Number Theory. Born in Paris, France Laplace - French Academy of Sciences (1816). GermainPrimes. Died before given an honorary doctorate obtained by Gauss from Germanys university of Gottingen.
Gauss Response “….But when a person of the sex which, according to our customs and prejudices, must encounter infinitely more difficulties than men to familiarize herself with these thorny researches, succeeds nevertheless in surmounting these obstacles and penetrating the most obscure parts of them, then without doubt she must have the noblest courage, quite extraordinary talents and superior genius.”
AdaAugusta Byron Lovelace 1815-1852 Born in London, England. Father was English h Poet Lord George Byron. Dreamed of meeting Mary Somerville. Babbage – ‘The Difference Machine’. Babbage – “The Analytical Machine’. Countess of Lovelace. Ada translated an article into English. She added notes on the limitations and powers of the machine. Signed A.A.L. as unfeminine. She though the computer may be able to create music. Cancer of the uterus. First to articulate the methodology of computer programming. Computer programming language named Ada in her honor.
Letter from Agustus De Morgan to Ada’s Mother “ I feel bound to tell you that… [Ada’s] power of thinking on these matters…has been something so utterly out of the common way for any beginner, man or woman, (that)…had any young beginner, about to go to Cambridge, shown the same power, I should have prophesised [that he would become]…an original mathematical investigator, perhaps of the first rate eminence”.
Amalie Emmy Noether March 23 1882-1935 Father was a Professor and noted mathematician. She was trained in “household arts and feminine graces”. She was tutored in math. Occasionally lectured in place of her father when he was ill. Moved to Gottingen and works with Hilbert and Klein on the theory of relativity. University was opposed to allowing females to become lecturers. Born in Ergangen, South Germany. Eventually she got a title of professor but no salary. At 38 coauthored a paper on differential operators. Great teacher. 37 publications. Her position and salary was withdrawn when the Nazi’s took over. Teach at Princeton but dies suddenly after a successful operation.
In discussion of employment. How can it be allowed that a woman become a Privatdozent? Having become a Privatdozent, she can then become a professor and a member of the University Senate.. What will our soldiers think when they return to our university and find they are expected to learn at the feet of a woman?” Hermann Weyl Eulogy “often referred to as “derNoether” ( with the masculine article), it was also done with respectful recognition of her power as a c creative thinker who seemed to have broken through the barrier of sex.”
The New York Times, Albert Einstein wrote: In the judgment of the most competent living mathematicians, FräuleinNoether was the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began. In the realm of algebra, in which the most gifted mathematicians have been busy for centuries, she discovered methods which have proved of enormous importance in the development of the present-day younger generation of mathematicians.
Mary Fairfax Somerville 1780-1872 Daughter of a Scottish admiral. At 9 couldn’t read, write, work numbers or speak properly. Studied mathematics late into the night. Mostly self educated in math. Wrote Mechanisms of the Heavens a popular text. Born in Burntisland, Scotland. Her achievement pushed girls education to the forefront of debate. Elected to the Royal Astronomical Society in 1835. Wrote Connection of the Physical Sciences, Physical Geography, and Molecular and Microscopic Science. (at age 89) Name given to Somerville college at Oxford.
"Queen of Nineteenth Century Science," Husbands sister wrote; She hoped that Mary “would give up her foolish manner and make a respectful and useful wife”.
Sonya Kovalevskaya 1850 - 1891 Born in Russia to a minor noble. Spent her childhood at Palibino. She thought her parent s affections were only awarded to her brother and sister. Left her with self doubt for the remainder of her life. Family history of mathematics. Russian Universities were closed to girls. Married to continue her education. In 1883 she became a lecturer at the University of Stockholm. She published papers in mathematics and many works of literary. Awarded the Prix Bordin by the French Academy of Science “On Rotation of a Solid Body about a Fixed Point”.
Admiral Grace Hooper Dec 9, 1906 - Jan 1, 1992 Mother studies geometry even though improper. Father was a insurance broker despite amputation of both his legs. Ph.D. from Yale in mathematics. Joined the Navy during WWII to be a programmer for the Mark I computer. Coined the term ”Debug”. Team lead by Grace created the “Cobol” standards. “You don’t manage people. You manage things. You lead people.” Retired from the Navy at 80years of age. Born in New York. Her motto "Dare and Do."
Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia 1646-1684 Spoke Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, French and Arabic. Studied mathematics, astronomy, philosophy and theology. At fathers insistence she applied for a Doctorate of Theology degree from the University of Padua. Met with resistance from the Roman Catholic Church. First woman in the world to receive a PhD in Philosophy instead in 1678. In 1678 became a mathematics lecturer. Devoted her life to Charity. Dies at 38.
Mary Everest Boole 1832-1916 Colonel Sir George Everest was the Surveyor General of India . Taught herself Calculus. Visit to her aunt in West Cork. Wrote to George Boole. Job at Queens College as a librarian. She believed that it was possible to express all basic notions of the universe with numbers and symbols. mathematical psychologist. Became most interested in teaching math and science to children. Born in England. Her goal was to try "...to understand how people, and especially children, learned mathematics and science, using the reasoning parts of their minds, their physical bodies, and their unconscious processes."
Caroline Herschel 1750-1848 Born in Hanover, Germany. Played violin. Little education. Her requests to attend school was considered impractical and unnecessary. Never received affection from her mother. Father told her she was not beautiful. Brother brought her to England and helped her. At 27 she was a popular vocalist. William built a telescope and found Uranus in 1781. William became the court astronomer to the King and Caroline his assistant. She studied, geometry, logarithms and more. First woman to detect a comet, 8 in total. Royal Irish Academy conferred her an honor.