Emmy Noether (1882 – 1935)
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.