Five Historic Female Mathematicians You Should Know

Albert Einstein called Emmy Noether a “creative mathematical genius”

Sofia Kovalevskaya, Emmy Noether and Ada Lovelace are just three of the many famous female mathematicians you should know. (Wikicommons)
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Emmy Noether (1882 – 1935)

(Public Domain)

In 1935, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to the New York Times, lauding the recently deceased Emmy Noether as “the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began.” Noether had overcome many hurdles before she could collaborate with the famed physicist. She grew up in Germany and had her mathematics education delayed because of rules against women matriculating at universities. After she received her PhD, for a dissertation on a branch of abstract algebra, she was unable to obtain a university position for many years, eventually receiving the title of “unofficial associate professor” at the University of Göttingen, only to lose that in 1933 because she was Jewish. And so she moved to America and became a lecturer and researcher at Bryn Mawr College and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. There she developed many of the mathematical foundations for Einstein’s general theory of relativity and made significant advances in the field of algebra.

About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for Smithsonian.com and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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