How many mathematics prodigies are you aware about? While Einstein, Newton, Aryabhata are at the tip of our tongues, can we say the same when it comes to women mathematical geniuses? Women have been discouraged to apply their minds to numbers and statistics through many periods of history; but a few persevered and shone bright.
And here’s a shout out to all the wondrous women who overcame all odds and managed to become the most famous mathematicians of all time.
Maryam Mirzakhani was an artist who painted a landscape of numbers. She’s the first woman to be honoured with the Fields Medal, the mathematics equivalent of the Nobel Prize, for her work in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces.
A woman of outstanding talent and outrageous world records, Shakuntala Devi is undoubtedly one of the most famous mathematicians of all time. Commonly referred to as the ‘human calculator’, the genius mathematician has spell bound and challenged the world with her unique talents.
An avowed paganist in a time of religious strife, Hypatia of Ancient Alexandria is also probably the first female mathematician we know about. Despite the fact that all her works are lost and we have only the titles and references, this female icon is considered one of the greatest mathematicians of the ancient world.
We all know this compassionate nurse as ‘the lady with the lamp’. What is less known is Florence was a pioneering statistician who used innovative graphs and charts to dramatically cut death rates. During the Crimean War, she presented statistics in a way no one had ever done before and proved that soldiers were dying due to the hospitals’ conditions, rather than from fighting.
A modern day mathematician, Professor Shafi Goldwasser is prominently known for her profound research on various theories including computation number theory and cryptography. Her work on theoretical computer science has won her the Gödel Prize, the highest honour in computer science twice.
An extraordinary woman with incredible talents, Katherine Johnson is most prominently known for the introduction of digital electronic computers at NASA. Her calculations were crucial for groundbreaking space missions including Project Mercury and Apollo 11 flight to the moon.
A Russian mathematician, Olga Ladyzhenskaya made incredible contributions to the field of fluid dynamics and is also renowned for her work on partial differential equations. This mathematical genius has authored more than 250 papers.