In the modern world, a woman plays one of the most important roles in the development of society. Today, a woman can try herself in any sphere of life. She can develop her skills in medicine, finance, science, and economics or wherever she wants. The social status of a woman and her role in society have their historical features in various cultures. The concept of “woman” has changed every century. And if now a woman can call herself a personality and say that she has certain rights, then this was not the case before.
A couple of centuries ago, a woman was equal to things, and in society’s views, she did not have any importance and universally recognized rights. Simply put, a woman was nobody, although she had the same rights to life as a man. And women were simply not supposed to know about such things as education. The only thing they could dream of was romantic proposal ideas and successful marriage.
Today, we are going to talk about those women who were able to overcome all difficulties and prove to the whole world that it does not matter what gender, skin color, or religion you are. In each era, some outstanding female mathematicians contributed to the development of this science.
Hypatia of Alexandria
As you know even nowadays women scientists are treated sometimes not in the best way, then just imagine how it was in the 300s! In the ancient world, a rare woman was engaged in science. It was believed that only men can do such serious things. Nevertheless, Hypatia of Alexandria, who received knowledge from her father, was one of the most prominent scientists of her time. Her father, the philosopher and mathematician Theon raised the girl himself because the mother of Hypatia died during childbirth. Perhaps this tragedy prompted the father to transfer his knowledge to his daughter.
Hypatia was engaged in the calculation of astronomical tables. Besides, she wrote comments on the works of Apollonius and Diophantus, but they have not survived. This stunning woman was very popular and respected. She actively participated in the life of the city and gave lectures at the Alexandria School.
Unfortunately, she was killed by Christian fanatics. Since then, Hypatia has become the patroness of science, which protects it from the onslaught of religion. This problem is still relevant today.
She was a French mathematician, philosopher, and mechanic who lived between 1776 and1831.
She was studying on her own in the library of her father, a jeweler. It is known that she was fond of mathematical works from childhood, especially the famous mathematician Montoucle, although her parents prevented her from studying as they believed that such occupation was unsuitable for a woman. She was corresponding with D’Alembert, Fourier, Gauss, and others. In some cases, she was communicating with other scientists, hiding her personality under a masculine name.
This incredible woman derived several formulas named after her and proved the so-called “First case” of Fermat’s Great Theorem. In 1808, being in Paris, she wrote “Memoire sur les vibrations des lames elastiques,” for which she got an Academy of Sciences Award. She was studying the theory of numbers, and her main treatise was “Considerations Generales sur l’etat des sciences et des lettres aux differentes epoques de leur culture.” Like many talented and intelligent women of that era, Sophie was not married.
Gabrielle Emily du Chatelet
This gorgeous woman was a French mathematician and physicist. She was the muse and inspirer of Voltaire. In 1725 she got married and moved with her spouse to Semur-en-Auxois where Emily gave birth to three children. In Semur-en-Auxois, she met de Maiziere, who awakened her passion for mathematics. In 1730, Emily returned to Paris.
Emily and Voltaire studied optical phenomena and the phenomenon of vacuum in a small theater equipped under the roof of the castle where Voltaire’s plays were staged.
In 1745, Emily started translating Newton’s “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy” and continued to work on it till her last days. Her main merit consisted not so much in translating the treatise from Latin into French, but in integrating Newton’s mathematical argument into Leibniz’s method of calculating infinitesimal values, recognized on the continent.
In 1737, she published the manuscript “Composition on Fire,” in which she expressed ideas similar to modern ideas about the infrared ray.
Most ideas and treatises of this great woman are still used. Even though earlier she had to demonstrate her great mind and the correctness of her ideas, now she is considered one of the greatest women of past centuries and one of the most talented mathematicians of all time.
Amalia “Emmy” Noether
Amalia was a German mathematician, best known for her contribution to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. Such famous scientists as Hermann Weil and Albert Einstein considered her one of the most gifted women in the whole history of mathematics. Being one of the most incredible mathematicians of the 20th century, she radically modified the theory of rings, fields, and algebras.
In 1916, Noether went to Göttingen, where the famous mathematicians David Hilbert and Felix Klein continued to work on the theory of relativity, and they needed Noether’s knowledge in the field of theory of invariants.
Noether spoke in the plenary session of the International Congress of Mathematicians in Zurich in 1932, her subtle algebraic flair was recognized on the globe. Together with her student Emil Artin, she won the Ackermann–Teubner Award for achievements in mathematics.
Talking about her contribution to the development of modern mathematics, it’s possible to say that her treatise in the sphere of abstract algebra and topology is of great importance nowadays. Noether demonstrated a tendency to abstract thinking, which helped her meet different challenges in mathematics.
She was a Russian mathematician, first female correspondent member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1889. She worked in the sphere of mathematical analysis (differential equations and analytical functions), mechanics (rotation of a rigid body around a fixed point), astronomy (the shape of Saturn’s rings).
Sofya Kovalevskaya was called the Russian princess of science. At the same time, she was probably the most unhappy princess, similar to the heroine from a fairy tale, who was gifted with all possible talents by the good fairies, but these talents did not bring any benefit because their action was almost completely neutralized by the envious fairy who presented the last unfortunate gift. Most likely, this unfortunate gift was expressed in her belonging to the female sex. If every major male scientist is a strange, eccentric fanatic, then his woman contributes to his adaptation to the real world. And if a woman is a major scientist herself, then this is genuine misfortune and complete loneliness.
Kovalevskaya made a huge contribution to mathematical science during her short life. In 1874, she completed the work “The theory of partial differential equations” and soon presented it as a Doctorate Thesis.
She was an Iranian and American mathematician specializing in Lobachevsky geometry, Teichmüller theory, and symplectic geometry. In 2014, she got the Fields Prize, becoming the first female laureate and first laureate from Iran. She got her secondary education in Iran in a specific school only for gifted girls, the mission of which is to discover and develop the talents of its students at the maximal level. She took gold medal positions at international mathematical Olympiads several times. After graduation from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, she relocated to the United States. In 2004, she earned a doctorate at Harvard University and in four years, she became a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. 9 years ago, she got an invitation to deliver a lecture on “Topology, Dynamical Systems, and Ordinary Differential Equations” at the International Congress of Mathematicians. Unfortunately, at the age of 40, she died from cancer. She is considered one of the most gifted female mathematicians of all time who made a significant contribution to the development of science.