Emmy Noether

Emmy Noether was born in Germany and as a child, was not really interested in mathematics. She spent her education studying both French and English, along with traditional skills such as cooking and cleaning. She passed a test after graduation from high school that allowed her to teach both French and English at schools for young women. When she turned 18, Emmy decided to take classes in mathematics at the University of Erlangen. Her brother was a student there and her father was a professor of mathematics. However, because she was a woman, the university refused to let Emmy take classes. She was allowed to audit the class, and after sitting in for 2 years, she took the exam which would allow her to be a doctoral student in mathematics. After five more years of study, she was the second woman to obtain a degree in the the field of mathematics. 

Even though Emmy had her doctorate in mathematics, the University of Erlangen would not hire her, since they had a policy against women professors. She decided to help her father at the Mathematics Institute in Erlangen. Soon, she published papers of her own. During WWII the Nazis determined that Jews could not work in universities. She opted to move to the United States, where Bryn Mawr College offered her a position teaching. The appointment of Noether was made possible by a gift from the Institute of International Education and the Rockefeller Foundation. She is known for her landmark contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. In physics, Noether's theorem explains the connection between symmetry and conservation laws. She was described by Pavel Alexandrov, Albert Einstein, Jean Dieudonné, Hermann Weyl, and Norbert Wiener as the most important woman in the history of mathematics.

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