Do you recognise these female Mathematicians?
We don’t think females get enough recognition in the worlds of Maths and Science, so we thought we’d write about a few female Mathematicians, who made a big difference in the world of Maths, but we’re not sure they’ve had the recognition they deserve! We hope it might help to inspire any budding young female Mathematicians you have at home!
Meet Sophie Germain, a mathematician from the 1780s. You may have heard of ‘Germain Numbers’ in school maths lessons. Well, Sophie’s responsible for them!
Being a young woman during the French Revolution, it was a struggle to have her academic value respected in society. However, this didn’t stop Germain, and she studied at École Polytechnique, where she worked alongside her mentor Joseph Louis Lagrange, who thankfully didn’t discriminate against her gender.
She contributed to some of the world’s hardest theories, like Fermat’s Last Theorem, and now acts as an inspiration to all young women to never give up! Despite the prejudice against her, she never gave up.
Now meet Ada Lovelace. For some, this name may be familiar because there already is an ‘Ada Lovelace Day’ which aims to celebrate women’s contributions to STEM.
Lovelace played a key role in early technology and has been dubbed the ‘First Computer Programmer’. In the 1800s, she created a program that elaborately generated numbers for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.
Notably, she also maintained visions of how creative the Engine could be, foreseeing its potential before anyone else. Lovelace proves how sometimes the greatest mind is from a woman!
Now here’s Hazel Hill. At just 13 years old, Hill worked alongside her father, a scientific officer in the Air Ministry.
During WW2, Hill’s father, Fred, realised that 4 guns would not be enough to take down the Germans. He turned to his daughter to help him prove mathematically why these planes needed 8 guns instead of 4, and, later on, it was realised that 8 was only just enough.
Without Hill’s contributions to her father’s work, we may have lost the war.
Hill later went on to work in the Royal Army Medical Corp, as a GP in Staffordshire and then as a child psychiatrist, leading an impressive and prestigious career in medicine, inspiring thousands of women across the UK.#
Here we introduce Christine Darden. In 1967, Darden was offered a job at NASA as a “human computer”, writing programs and solving computations for engineers.
She was best known, however, for her work in Sonic Boom Reduction, and was recognized as the first African American Woman to gain a top managerial position within NASA, with 50+ publications in her field.
Darden has inspired generations of aerospace engineers, acting as an amazing female role model!
Finally, meet Florence Nightingale. For many of us, Nightingale is a familiar name, with her work most notably being associated with medicine.
However, Nightingale had a passion for maths from a very young age, begging her parents to find her a tutor. Nursing during Nightingale’s time, however, was seen as one of the least respected careers.
This didn’t stop Nightingale, and she went on to use her mathematical skills to calculate mortality rates and other statistics that were used to improve the sanitary and health conditions in hospitals.
Later on, Nightingale, unfortunately, became bedridden due to her disease, but still went on to publish 200+ books, reports, and pamphlets to continue her vital work.