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Math Girls in Action


Hypatia of Alexandria

Hypatia was a mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher  who is the earliest female mathematician known. Hypatia was the daughter of Theon of Alexandria who himself was a famous mathematician.

Hypatia was also a popular teacher and philosopher who had a loyal following of students and general population. There is a nice write up on Hypatia available here.

The established facts of Hypatia’s life as per the link are below:

(1) She was the daughter of Theon of Alexandria.
(2) She was trained as a mathematician by her father and eventually replaced him as the leading mathematician of Alexandria and, indeed as the pre-eminent mathematician of her time.
(3) She was the last major mathematician of the Alexandrian tradition.
(4) She studied and taught neo-Platonist philosophy, and astronomy, and was generally regarded as an excellent teacher.
(5) She died a particularly grisly death, probably in 415 CE, at the hands of a Christian mob. Some say her slaughter was instigated by Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria.

The 2009 movie Agora depicted Hypatia’s final years.

Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani was a mathematician who became the first woman ever to win the Fields Medal in 2014. The Fields Medal is often regarded as the Nobel Prize of mathematics. All 52 previous winners of the Fields Medal have been men before 2014.

Dr. Mirzakhani was born in Iran and received her B.Sc. degree in mathematics from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. She earned her Ph.D. from Harvard and was a professor of mathematics at Princeton University. She is currently a Stanford University Professor of Mathematics.

Dr. Mirzakhani got international recognition as a teenager when she won gold medals at the 1994 and 1995 International Math Olympiads.

She originally wanted to be a writer but developed a strong passion for solving mathematical problems in high school. “It is fun – it’s like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case,” she said. “I felt that this was something I could do, and I wanted to pursue this path.”

Math Leaders – 21st century

American Mathematical Society has featured these women mathematicians and their work which is very inspiring.

Andrea L. Bertozzi, University of California Los Angeles
Ph.D. Princeton University
News articles

Maria Chudnovsky, Columbia University and 2012 MacArthur Fellow
Ph.D. Princeton Univversity
“Maria Chudnovsky” (Popular Science, 2004)

Sommer Gentry, U.S. Naval Academy
Ph.D. M.I.T.
Podcast interview for “Matching Vital Needs”
Optimized Match for Kidney Paired Donation

Rebecca Goldin, George Mason University
Ph.D. M.I.T.
“An Interview with Rebecca Goldin,” (MAA, November 4, 2008)

Trachette Jackson, University of Michigan
Ph.D. University of Washington
The Jackson Cancer Modeling Group

Bryna Kra, Northwestern University
Ph.D. Stanford University
2010 Conant Prize (Notices of the AMS, April 2010)
2006–2007 AMS Centennial Fellowships Awarded (Notices of the AMS, June/July 2006)

Ivelisse Rubio, University of Puerto Rico
Ph.D. Cornell University
Infinite Possibilities

Abigail Thompson, University of California, Davis
Ph.D. Rutgers University

Melanie Wood, University of Wisconsin
Ph.D. Princeton University