Patriarchal by definition means the male head of the family, therefore emerging from a patriarchal and misogynistic society there are some brilliant female names that you haven’t even heard of. It used to be much easier for a man to get the education and exposure during the olden days as women were not appreciated to pursue with their careers, hence it is important for us to respect and cherish these wondrous women who fought against society and the chauvinistic men that discouraged them at every step. Yet, they managed to become the most famous mathematicians of all time.
The female mathematicians are discussed in order according to timeline:
1. Hypatia (AD 315-415)
Hypaitia of Alexandria was the daughter of a mathematician and took her father as an inspiration to become a mathematician herself. Not only was she a mathematician but a philosopher as well. She taught as the head at a school, her subject was the knowledge of Plato and Aristotle. She is the first woman to make valuable contributions in the field of mathematics. Hypaitia was the first woman to take the bold step to pursue with her dreams and became an inspiration to many young women who became the world’s most famous geniuses ever.
2. Emilie du Chatelet (1706-1749)
The French mathematician, author and physicist during the age of reason, or simply, Age of Enlightenment became well known for her work for her translation on Isaac Newton. She had vast knowledge over Newtonian physics and mechanics and gave an elaborate commentary on the Newton mechanics.
3. Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799)
The Italian mathematician, philosopher, humanitarian, theologian was an honorable lady with command over a wide variety of subjects. She was the first woman who not only became the first math professor but wrote the mathematical handbook as well. Her book comes under discussion in both integral and differential mathematics.
4. Sophie Germain (1766-1831)
A French mathematician, philosopher and author, Sophie Germain, was a dedicated and motivated woman. The young rebellious Sophie fought against her parents to get education, secretly reading her father’s books to gain knowledge. She was one of the pioneers of the theory of elasticity.
5. Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)
The world’s first computer programmer can to acknowledgement when she was translating the memoir of Charles Babbage. She did an analytical review and revised the memoir by adding her own method of calculating a sequence of Bernoulli numbers, the first computer program ever.
6. Sofia Kovalevskaya (1850-1891)
She was the first Russian mathematician, responsible for many contributions and evaluations. She made important contributions to analysis, partial differential equations and mechanics. She was the first woman to get appointed as a full professorship, as well as the first woman as editor of a scientific journal.
7. Mary Everest Boole (1832-1916)
She was the inventor of cooperative learning and creating activities that would make learning math more children friendly. Boole was self taught and progressed to become a mathematician and author of the book ‘Philosophy and Fun of Algebra’.
8. Emmy Noether (1882-1935)
A German and Jewish originated Emmy became the leading mathematician of her time. She developed theories of rings, fields and algebra. She was notified by history’s famous scientists and mathematicians as the most important in the history of mathematics!
9. Euphemia Haynes (1890-1980)
An African-American based woman who progressed to gain her PhD in mathematics. She contributed to the educational system in Washington DC, which was her place of residence. She taught at public schools and eventually became the first woman to chair the DC school board.
10. Mary Cartwright (1900-1998)
Mary Cartwright was a British mathematician who was the first woman to get a first class degree in mathematics. She went on further to gain her PhD and spent the rest of her life working on her thesis on zeros of entire functions. She contributed to simplifying elementary proof of the irrationality of pi. Henceforth, she became the first female mathematician to be elected Fellow of royal society. The list of accomplishments are immense and of great importance in the historical mathematical events.
11. Marjorie Lee Browne (1914-1979)
Marjorie was an African-American mathematician famous for her work, education and contributions to the world of numbers and equations. She was the first black woman who achieved her doctorate in math. She made many contributions to the African-American society the most notable being the introduction of computers in academics. She was a generous woman who spent her life focusing on social work. She encouraged and promoted math education for minorities and women.
12. Julia Robinson (1919-1985)
Robinson was the first woman elected by the National Academy of Sciences and president of American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Despite that fact that she remained un-well due to her health problems she never compromised on her mathematical education. She is most famously known for her work on Hilbert’s tenth problems and decision problems.
13. Katherine Johnson (1918-present)
Katherine Johnson was an American mathematician, physicist and space scientist most prominently known for the introduction of digital electronic computers at NASA. She spread her wisdom with her calculations in the trajectory for Project Mercury and Apollo 11 flight to the moon. She was an extraordinary woman with incredible talents.
14. Shafi Goldwasser (1958-Date)
The modern day mathematician, Goldwasser, is an American professor teaching mathematics and computer science at the well renowned universities, MIT and Weizmann Institute of science. She gained the Golden globe award for her work on theoretical computer science. She contributed with her profound research on zero-knowledge proof, complexity theory, computation number theory and cryptography.
15. Maryam Mirazakhani (1977-Date)
Mirazakhani is an Iranian mathematician and the first of the Iranian women to have multiple accomplishments starting from a very young age. She gathered a gold medal in the international mathematical Olympaid. She was also the first of to be honored with a Fields Medal, one of the most valuable and prestigious award in mathematics, she achieved the award for her work in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces. Mirazakhani is currently working as a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. She’s an outstanding, inspirational and admirable woman.