Women in Mathematics History
Find the top 10 women mathematicians from ancient times, to the latest born in the 19th century.
Medieval Book Image of a Woman Teaching Geometry
In a 14th century illustration from a copy of Euclid's Elements, a woman is shown holding a compass and square, teaching geometry to a group of monks.
Oldest of 21 children and a child prodigy who studied languages and math, Maria Agnesi wrote a textbook to explain math to her brothers which became a noted textbook on mathematics.
Marjorie Lee Browne
Marjorie Lee Browne was one of the first black women to receive a doctorate in mathematics
Sophie Germain studied geometry to escape boredom during the French Revolution when she was confined to her family's home, and went on to do important work in mathematics, especially her work on Fermat's Last Theorem.
About Caroline Herschel
Astronomer and mathematician, she assisted her brother, William, and helped discover the planet Uranus. She made her own mark, too, with her work.
Hypatia of Alexandria
Philosopher, astronomer and mathematician, she headed up a Neoplatonic School, part of the Museum of Alexandria, Egypt. Her students were pagan and Christian young men from around the empire. She was killed by a mob of Christians in 415, probably inflamed by the bishop of Alexandria, Cyril.
Biography of Sofia Kovalevskaya, 19th century mathematician who also wrote novels.
Ada Lovelace (Augusta Byron, Countess of Lovelace)
The only legitimate daughter of Byron, the poet, her translation of an article on Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine includes notations (three-fourths of the translation!) that describe what later became known as a computer and as software. In 1980, the Ada computer language was named for her.
Amalie Emmy Noether
Called by Albert Einstein "the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began," Noether escaped Germany when the Nazis took over, and taught in America for several years before her unexpected death.
Elena Cornaro Piscopia
About Elena Cornaro Piscopia, mathematician and the first woman to earn a doctorate.
Charlotte Angas Scott
Information on Charlotte Angas Scott - her life and work.
Biography of Mary Somerville, 19th century pioneer woman mathematician and scientist.
Read about Sheila Tobias' life and work. Learn about Sheila Tobias and her books on higher education and women in math and science.
The School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, lists many women in mathematics for whom they've included biographies on the site and, for some, printable black and white posters, especially suitable for classroom use.
Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes
Basic facts and a biography of the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics.
History of Black Women in Mathematics
Profiles of African American women who have earned a Ph.D. in mathematics or who have done significant research in math. "Less than 1% of all mathematicians are Black. 25% of these are women."
History of Women in Mathematics
This exhaustive list (which misses Hypatia) shows how the 19th and 20th century have had an explosion of women involved in math. There are no links for the names, so more research is needed for details.
In Her Own Words: Six Mathematicians Comment
In this 1991 article, six women in mathematics tell their own stories. From the American Mathematical Society and the Association for Women in Mathematics.
Links for Biographies
The Association for Women in Mathematics maintains a list of links for biographies of women mathematicians found on the AWM site, with a few more found elsewhere on the Net.
Winifred Edgerton Merrill
First American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics is profiled in this biography with references.
Profiles of Women in Mathematics
Women mathematicians who have given the Emmy Noether lectures since 1980 are profiled here, along with a profile of Emmy Noether herself. From the Association for Women in Mathematics.