By a Syster: Laurian Vega
Originally posted: April 20, 2012
History, Women & Mathematics
The history of technology is steeped in mathematics. There have been a few recent posts on Systers about the famous and, some argue, forgotten, female mathematician, Emmy Noether. In this article posted by the New York Times, the author gives a short summary of Noether’s life. My favorite part of learning about this amazing woman was one of the last paragraphs where we learn a bit about her personality:
“Noether lived for math and cared nothing for housework or possessions, and if her long, unruly hair began falling from its pins as she talked excitedly about math, she let it fall. She laughed often and in photos is always smiling.” ~ Natalie Angier
Beyond the publishing of this article, there have been numerous links posted to systers regarding the accomplishments of women and mathematics.
These articles and materials all present a positive spin on the issue of women in mathematics. And, personally, I find it troubling that there have been so many famous female mathematicians, yet somehow I still don’t know about them. Last year when I was driving my babysitter home in the evening I asked her about what she had been working on while my child slept. She told me she had an assignment to write an essay about someone in history she admired. The problem was, that there were only three women on the list of a hundred people, and only one she really knew about (Amelia Earhart). Of course, I took the opportunity to send her a list of amazing women, but I want to point out that this is an issue that isn’t going away no matter how many New York Times articles are written.
This comic from XKCD with zombie Marie Curie summarizes it best.