“Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.”
Hypatia of Alexandria was the first woman who made an invaluable contribution to Mathematics by teaching and inspiring her female contemporaries.
She was the daughter of Theon, a renowned mathematician of Alexandria. Mathematicians all over the world revere her commentaries on Arithmetica and Conics of Apollonius, and description of the early hydrometer.
Hypatia refined several scientific instruments, wrote math textbooks, and developed a more efficient long division method. Hypatia wrote a piece on Diophantus's thirteen volume Arithmetica, which contains 100 mathematical problems, whose solutions are proposed using algebra.
She also wrote an article on conic sections, but these writings have been lost in the hole of time.
“If I were king, I would redress an abuse which cuts back, as it were, one half of humankind. I would have women participate in all human rights, especially those of the mind.”
A French physicist, mathematician, and author during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe became famous for her brilliant commentaries and clarifications on Newton’s Principia Mathematica.
Her most important contributions to science were her elucidation of the concepts of energy and energy conservation.
She authored a book on philosophy and science called ‘Institutions de Physique’.
Sophie German (1766-1831)
“Algebra is nothing more than geometry, in words; geometry is nothing more than algebra, in pictures."
Sophie was a fierce and resilient mathematician who secretly explored her father’s library to gain mathematical knowledge. Her family tried its best to discourage her but could not stop this self-made mathematician. Sophie worked in tandem with Legendre on his work on the number theory.
He mentioned her in his work Supplément to his second edition of the Théorie des Nombres, where he described it as ‘very ingenious’.
She was the first woman to be awarded by the Paris Academy of Sciences in 1816 for her work on elasticity theory. Today, the award is known as Sophie Germain Prize!
Also, she is best known for her groundbreaking work on Fermat’s Last Theorem which is regarded to be one of the most challenging puzzles.
“The more I study, the more insatiable do I feel my genius for it to be."
Ada Lovelace was an absolute genius and the world’s first computer programmer. Charles Babbage called her “ the enchantress of numbers ”.
She worked along with Charles Babbage and invented a computer program that she called “The plan”, which later became known as ‘The Analytical Engine of 1843’. She assisted him on his work on ‘ the analytical engine and generated an algorithm to calculate a sequence of Bernoulli numbers – the first computer program ever.
“It is impossible to be a mathematician without being a poet in soul.”
Sofia was a Russian mathematician, and her most significant achievement was to receive the appointment of a full professorship at the University Of Stockholm.
She completed three doctoral papers. They were: “On the Theory of Partial Differential Equations”, “On the Reduction of a Certain Class of Abelian Integrals of the Third Rank to Elliptic Integrals,” and “Supplementary Remarks and Observations on the Laplace’s Research on the Form of Saturn’s Rings.”
Credited to be the first woman editor of a scientific journal, Sofia gave the Cauchy-Kovalevskaya Theorem and made a significant contribution to Mechanics and partial differential equations.
“Education is not just about going to school and getting a degree. It’s about widening your knowledge and absorbing the truth about life.”
A woman who could calculate anything and everything even faster than a computer! Shakuntala Devi was rightly known as the ‘Human Computer’ and also found a place in the Guinness book of records for her exceptional calculating ability.
People who attended her shows would randomly ask her numbers to calculate or find the day with the date provided. Her answers were always perfect and faster than they would expect. Many people at the top universities wondered, “How Shakuntala Devi Calculates?”.
She could multiply two randomly picked 13-digit numbers in 28 seconds and also gave the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in 50 seconds.
In the year 1980, she contested in the election for the parliament seat in two different localities against Indira Gandhi and lost. Devi has been a respected personal astrologer to many politicians, movie stars, and business personnel.
Her books, ‘Figuring: The Joy of Numbers’ and ‘The World of Homosexuals’ are works of impeccable finesse.
All these women have paved the way for female education all over the world. They have inspired us through their grit and wisdom to make the best possible contribution to society. We, at Cuemath, firmly believe in women empowerment and are striving hard to harness the female power of our society. We are helping women in all spheres of life to restart their teaching careers in India.
Cuemath, a student-friendly mathematics platform, conducts regular Online Live Classes for academics and skill-development, and their Mental Math App, on both iOS and Android, is a one-stop solution for kids to develop multiple skills. Understand the Cuemath Fee structure and sign up for a free trial.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Women in Mathematics
Who is the Princess of mathematics?
Sophie Germain earned her claim to immortality through her work in two distinct branches of mathematics. She lovingly carved her name in the annals of number theory, the purest branch, which was called the queen of mathematics by Gauss, the prince of mathematics himself.
Who is the best mathematician in the world 2020?
Stanford mathematics professor Yakov “Yasha” Eliashberg has been jointly awarded the 2020 Wolf Prize in Mathematics for his contributions to differential geometry and topology.