Womens Contributions to Mathematics





Abstract

Women in the world of mathematics is a subject that people rarely hear about. The only
time people do is if itís a female math teacher. But what many do not know is that
women have made extremely important contributions to the world of mathematics.
Women have been documented to be involved in mathematics, since as early as the fifth
century A.D. Women such as Hypatia, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Sophie Germain, Emmy
Noether, Ruth Moufang and Sun-Yung Alice Chang. These women have lived through
difficult times such as womenís oppression, the French Revolution, World War I and II,
which included Hitlerís administration over womenís schooling, and social prejudices.
This did not stop their yearning for math though. These women combined have earned
many different awards, specifically ones usually given to men. They have conquered the
biases people have had towards them and made what they do best count. Many of their
theorems and equations are still used today, and some are even being perfected by others.
It is important that the reader realizes that educating children about women in
mathematics is important. Many children think of mathematicians as men, and that is
totally untrue. That thought could possibly contribute to the fact that women are less
likely to enter the mathematics field compared to men. This is because they are not
educated properly on the subject, and are not given the opportunity to excel. There are
many more women in mathematics then mentioned above, but the ones named are very
important to the field and children need to know that. By taking these 6 womenís
contributions and focusing on how they apply to the middle school curriculum would be
very useful to any teacher. The children could each pick a female mathematician, and
make a poster and do a presentation about their findings. It could also be done as a
group project. As long as the topic gets discussed and that the girls come out feeling like
they could also get involved in mathematics.





Womenís Contributions to Mathematics

In the world of mathematics, you rarely hear anything about women
mathematicians. Although not much is said about women and math, there are many
women mathematicians who have made significant contributions to the field. From as
early as 370 AD, women have been contributing to the study of equations, theorems, and
even solving problems that have deemed themselves in the mathematical world as
impossible. Because of the time period that these women lived, many were not
recognized for their achievement; some were even banished or killed. Names such as
Hypatia, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Sophie Germain, Emmy Noether, Ruth Moufang, and
Julia Bowman Robinson may not be common to the everyday person. But to
mathematicians around the world, especially women, they are a sign of achievement and
determination in a field dominated by men. In order to make women recognized in the
field of mathematics, educators need to spend time teaching their students that math is not
just for males. Because of the contributions of the women named above, math
exploration has been furthered and many questions have been answered, although some
are still to this day unresolved.
Hypatia
370?-415 AD
Hypatia is the first, truly documented woman mathematician. Her works have
given way to famous male mathematicians such as Newton, Descartes, and Leibniz.
Raised in ancient Egypt during the time that Christianity started to take over many other
religions, it was hard for Hypatia to study anything in an age where males dominated
many fields of study. Hypatia was looked at, though, as a woman of strong character, and
as a strong orator, astrologist, astronomist, and mathematician. Raised mostly by her
father, Theon, a known mathematician of the times, Hypathia gained a lot of knowledge
at a young age. She studied under her fatherís supervision, which gave her the wanting to
know the unknown in mathematics.
Hyapthia made many contributions to the study of mathematics, her most famous
being her work on conic sections. A conic section is when a person divides cones into
different parts using planes. Because she edited a book written by Apollpnius so well, her
work survived all the way up until today. Her concepts later developed into what is today
called, hyperbolas, parabolas, and ellipses.
Hypatia died a very tragic death in 415 AD. Because she was a woman in the
field of mathematics and science, many rumors were spread about her. One of the
Christian leaders named Cyril heard of these rumors and because he did not like the civil
governor of Alexandria, where Hypatia lived,