# The most famous women mathematicians: names and biographies

What great women mathematicians contributed to the development of the “queen of sciences”? Let's try together to find the answer to this question. Many people know that the first female mathematician is Sofia Kovalevskaya. In fact, there are many more of them, and each of them deserves a separate mention, and their biography is a detailed study. So, the topic of our conversation today is women-mathematicians and their discoveries.

## Germain Sophie

She was born on April 1, 1776. She is rightly considered a French mathematician, mechanic, philosopher. Germain independently learned to read in the library of his father - the jewelry master. The girl enthusiastically studied a variety of mathematical works, in particular, she perfectly studied the history of mathematics Montkula. Parents did not want their daughter to be engaged in this science, they considered her inappropriate for a woman.

Germain corresponded with Fourier, Dalamber, Gauss, hiding under a male name.She derived several formulas that got her name. Sophie was able to explain one version of the Great Fermi Theorem, taking the prime numbers to prove: n, 2n +1. In 1808, Germain wrote a serious mathematical work, awarded the Prize of the Academy of Sciences. Like many other great women-mathematicians, she was not married, her personal life did not work out because of her constant scientific activities.

## Herschel Lucretia

She was born on March 16, 1750 in Hanover in the family of a military musician. My father wanted to teach children music, but Caroline is known as the Anglo-German astronomer. In 1772, the girl came to England to her elder brother, became his faithful assistant for life.

While the elder brother was regularly engaged in music, the girl performed his works. Gradually, the young man became interested in astronomy, and Caroline became his loyal assistant, wrote down the observations. In her free time, Caroline was engaged in independent study of the starry sky. In 1783 she discovered three new nebulae. Three years later, Carolina discovers a new comet. This is the first female mathematician in the world to discover a comet. After the death of her brother, she returns to Hanover, continues astronomical research.

By 1828, she completed a catalog of 2,500 star-shaped nebulae. Colossal work, carried out with his brother, was marked by the Royal Astronomical Society. Carolina was awarded the gold medal, was awarded the title of honorary member of the Irish Royal Academy of Sciences.

It was in her honor called the asteroid, a crater on the surface of the moon.

## Nicole Lepot

Women mathematicians made a huge contribution to the development of science. One of the representatives of the fair sex, of which France is proud, is Nicole-Rhine-Etable de la Brière (after the marriage - Lepot). She was born on January 5, 1723, is considered a famous astronomer and mathematician. Madame Lepot was engaged in the calculations of the orbit of comet Halley, she managed to compile the celestial trajectories of the Moon, the Sun, the planets.

The works of this unique woman were published in the editions of the Paris Academy. In 25 years, the girl becomes the wife of a watchmaker, working at the court. She was fascinated by the mathematical calculations of the pendulum clock, helping her husband. In the second half of the eighteenth century, the Frenchwoman was able to complete the calculations of the orbit of Halley's comet, taking into account her perturbations from Jupiter to Saturn.The result was the prediction of the delay of this celestial body for 618 days, the prediction of the occurrence of a comet in the perihelion of April 1759. Madame Lepot is the first woman professor in mathematics in the world to become a member of the Academy of Sciences in France. She is the author of numerous works that were published in the Academy of Sciences of Paris. Nicole was able to calculate the orbit of Halley's comet in 1762, made a detailed map of the solar ring-shaped eclipse observed in Paris in 1764.

The ephemeris of the Sun and the Moon, calculated by Nicole in 1774, were published in the scientific press. After the deterioration of vision, Lepot was forced to stop astronomical calculations. The remaining seven years of Nicole-Raine Lepot’s life took care of her husband, completely stopping her scientific work. In her honor, the naturalist Commerson named a flower brought from Japan.

## Sofia Kovalevskaya

In January 1850 a girl was born in Moscow, later known to the whole world as a woman mathematician - Sofia Kovalevskaya. It was she who became an active member of the St. Petersburg Scientific Academy.

She was born in the family of lieutenant-general of artillery V.V. Korvin-Krukovsky in the family estate Palibino (Vitebsk province) and Elisaveta Feodorovna Schubert (nee).Grandfather Kovalevskaya was a mathematician, and great-grandfather was engaged in astronomical research. A female mathematician Kovalevskaya spent her childhood years in the Vitebsk province, from the age of eight she received lessons not only from governors, but also from Joseph Ignatievich Malevich, the son of a small landlord.

He repeatedly noted the unique abilities of this woman. Russian mathematicians are justly proud of Sophia, of her desire to explain complex processes and phenomena.

In 1866, Kovalevskaya traveled abroad, then took mathematical lessons from A.N. Strannolyubsky in St. Petersburg. After marriage with her husband, Vladimir Onufrievich Kovalevsky, she went abroad. At first, Sophia studied with Konigsberger at the University of Heidelberg, then she was fortunate enough to be a student of KTV Weierstrass at the University of Berlin.

Like many other female mathematicians, Sophia could not listen to lectures. Weierstrass, who was struck by her mathematical abilities, became her curator. Young women advocated a revolutionary struggle, supported the theory of utopian socialism, so in 1881, together with her husband, she came to Paris, began to care for the wounded Communards.She became a member of the rescue operation from the prison of one of the leaders of the Paris Commune, V. Jaclard.

Many well-known female mathematicians sacrificed their personal lives in the name of the “queen of sciences”, and Sofia managed to combine family and science.

## Scientific activity

In 1874 she successfully defended her dissertation, so the University of Göttingen approved Sofia with a Ph.D. In 1879, she made a report at the fourth congress of natural scientists, held in St. Petersburg. Two years later, Kovalevskaya was elected a private assistant professor at the Moscow Mathematical Society. After the death of her husband, together with her daughter, Sophia moves to Stockholm, changes her name to Sonya Kowalevski.

She is the world's first female professor of mathematics who works at Stockholm University. The first year of the lecture was given in German, then in Swedish. After mastering this language, Kovalevskaya began to print on it mathematical works and fiction works.

Being one of the first female professors of mathematics, Sonia won the prize of the Paris Scientific Academy. She was awarded this title after the discovery of the third classical case of the solvability of the problem of rotating a rigid body around a fixed base.

However, one of the first female professors of mathematics did not stop at the achieved results.

Her second work related to the same topic was awarded in 1889 with the prize of the Swedish Academy of Sciences. Not all women-mathematicians were awarded such recognition as Sophia Kovalevskaya. She was elected a corresponding member of the Physics and Mathematics Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This outstanding woman scientist died at the age of 41 in Stockholm, and the cause of death was pneumonia.

## World recognition

Among the numerous studies that Kovalevskaya was able to conduct in her short life, special attention should be paid to the theory of rotation of a rigid body. It was she who discovered the way to solve this complex mathematical problem, continued the work of L. Euler and J. L. Lagrange.

This amazing woman is a professor of mathematics not only by position, but also by vocation.

She managed to prove the existence of a holomorphic (analytic) solution of the Cauchy problem for complex systems of partial differential equations. Sophia successfully investigated the Laplace problem concerning the characteristics of the equilibrium of Saturn's rings, and was able to reveal a second approximation.

Like many other female mathematicians, Kovalevskaya for a long time remained in the shadow of eminent male scientists. The fact of full recognition of the genius of her mind is the presentation in 1889 of the great prize of the Paris Academy to her. Similarly, her studies in the field of rotation of an asymmetric heavy top were noted.

It was an outstanding mathematical talent that allowed Kovalevskaya to reach the heights of the academic world.

## Important facts

Like other female mathematicians, Sophia was passionate and lively in nature. She was not limited to abstract mathematical research, she always tried to surround herself with masculine attention. It would seem that world scientific fame, the award of prestigious prizes - all this should bring Kovalevskaya satisfaction. But unfortunately, after the death of her husband, she experienced the hardest heartache, lost hope of simple female happiness.

Sophia had an amazing gift - observation, she thoughtfully treated the reproduction of the facts that she was able to learn.

If many of the first women-mathematicians could not achieve recognition in scientific circles, then Kovalevskaya succeeded in it to the full.

Her literary talent, awakened after the death of her husband, proved the versatility of the talent of this unique woman. For example, her memories of George Eliot, childish impressions were published in Russian. Sofia Kovalevskaya was the author of several poems that were published after her death. Only memories of the Polish uprising were written in Swedish, as well as the novel The Plot of the Vorontsovs. It deals with the era of rebirth among the Russian youth of the 19th century.

If the first women mathematicians were fond of only the “queen of sciences”, were engaged in studying celestial bodies, then Kovalevskaya’s inquiring mind tried to penetrate into various spheres of science and technology.

## Philosophical thoughts

Special attention can be paid to the book, the name of which, translated into Russian, sounds like “The struggle for happiness. Two parallel dramas. The work of S. K. and A. K. Leffler. The work was written jointly with the Swedish writer Leffler-Edgren, but it is permeated with the ideas of Kovalevskaya. The book depicts the fate and development of people from different points of view: "as it was," "as it could be."

Sophia was convincedthat all actions and actions of people are predetermined in advance, but she recognized the fact that such moments in life can arise when different chances appear. In this case, the person has the opportunity to choose their own path, to make adjustments to the fate given to him initially.

The hypothesis proposed by Kovalevskaya was based on the Poincaré hypothesis about differentiated equations. He considered integrals as equations with several unknown curve lines branching out only in a part of isolated points.

The theory of Poincare demonstrates that the phenomenon of the curve flows to the place of bifurcation, but it is impossible to predict in advance what the algorithm for the subsequent branching.

Leffler noted that Sophia Kovalevskaya, in her memoirs, considered in the “Kiev collection to help victims of crop failure,” saw herself as the central figure. Those phrases that were pronounced by the main character of the work, Alice, are taken from the authentic statements of the woman-mathematician. The drama tells the story of the almighty power of love, demanding full dedication and self-sacrifice. This is how Sofia Kovalevskaya considered this feeling, which prevented her from achieving simple female happiness.

## Ada Lovelace

This woman, born on December 10, 1815, is considered the first woman programmer in the world. Augusta Ada King (nee Byron), often referred to simply as Ada Lovelace, is associated with the description of a computer whose design was invented by Charles Babbage. She was the only child of the poet George Byron and Anna Isabella Byron. In her youth, Ada's mother was fascinated by mathematics, for which she received the nickname Queen of Parallelograms from her husband.

Byron saw his daughter only once a month after her birth. After the official divorce from his wife, he leaves England, so the girl grows up without him. In order for the child not to have memories of his father, the mother ordered all the books of Byron to be removed from the family library. The newborn was given to Anna Isabella's parents, then returned to her mother. Biographers express different versions as to what the role of the mother is in the development of the future outstanding mathematician.

For Ada, Mrs. Byron invited Augustus de Morgan, a former teacher of mathematics. His wife, Mary Sommerville, once translated from French the Treatise on Celestial Mechanics, written by astronomer and mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace.

It was Mary who became the model of a woman, a role model for her little pupil. At the age of seventeen, Ada began to travel to the world, she was introduced to the royal couple. Young Miss Byron first heard the name of Charles Babbage from her mentor during a lunch meal. At that time, Charles was a professor at the Mathematics Department at Cambridge University.

Later, Ada met many other prominent personalities of the time: Michael Faraday, Charles Wheatstone, David Brewster, Charles Dickens.

After taking office, Babbage completed a description of a counting machine capable of performing calculations up to the twentieth digit.

The finished drawing, along with the gears and rollers that the lever moved, was on the table of the Prime Minister. In 1823, Babbage received the first subsidy for the construction of his "analytical machine." Work on the project lasted ten years, gradually the design of the machine became more complicated. In 1835, Ada marries William King, who inherited the title of Lord Lovelace.

Despite marriage, the birth of three children, Ada enthusiastically surrendered to her vocation - mathematics.

Italian scientist Manibra, who met with the analytical machine, made a detailed description of it. Ada began translating material from French to English. In addition, she added to her own detailed comments. That is why Adu is considered the first programmer of our planet.

She told Babbage that she had drawn up a plan of action for his “brainchild”, thanks to which the Bernoulli equation related to the law of conservation of energy of a poured liquid can be solved.

The term "working cell" was introduced by Ada Lovelace, she published works in this field in the middle of the nineteenth century. Since in that historical period publication of compositions under the real name was indecent for a woman, she put only initials on the title Lovelace.

That is why her mathematical works, as well as the work of many other women mathematicians, were completely oblivious for a long time.

Ada Lovelace died in November 1852 from bloodletting to treat cancer of the uterus. Only in the second half of the twentieth century, the US Department of Defense decided to start developing the universal programming language "Ada".

## Marie Curie-Sklodowska

In addition to research in the field of radioactivity, Maria, polka by origin, paid special attention to mathematical calculations. Her childhood years were marred by the loss of her sisters first, then her mothers. Together with her husband, Maria was engaged in detailed radiation of radioactivity, carried out complex mathematical calculations. At school, the girl was distinguished by diligence and extraordinary hard work. She is twice the Nobel Prize winner: in physics (1903), in chemistry (1911). She founded the institutes in Paris, in Warsaw. She did not allow inaccuracies, so often because of her work she forgot about normal nutrition, neglected sleep. After finishing school, Maria had serious health problems, she was forced to temporarily stop studying.

## Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Considering this material, we note that Russian women-mathematicians are almost unknown. Among the scientists of the Soviet period, Nina Karlovna Bari (Doctor of Physics and Mathematics, Professor at Moscow State University) and Sofia Alexandrovna Yanovskaya (mathematician, philosopher and teacher, founder of the Soviet school of philosophy of mathematics) are worth remembering.

As for world celebrities, there are still many interesting names that are undeservedly forgotten by contemporaries.For example, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, an Italian mathematician, studied this complex science under the guidance of her father, a professor at the University of Bologna. She wrote the book "Foundations of Analysis", which tells about the features of this section of mathematics. It was Anezi who was able to prove that every cubic equation has three roots. It was in honor of this Italian that a flat curve expressing one of the mathematical equations was called the “Anezi curl”.