10 Greatest Female Mathematicians The World Has Ever Seen

Aadhya Khatri - Apr 23, 2019, 1:01 pm IST

These mathematicians' work has transformed mathematics. Some were recognized for their achievements but others were not

Gender does not seem to make a difference in mathematics as women have been fighting discrimination for centuries to come up with breakthroughs for the world. Here are the ten greatest female mathematicians the world has ever seen.


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Mathematics seemed to run in Hypatia’s blood as her father Theon was also a mathematician. She taught astronomy and philosophy at the Platonist School in Alexandria. She was killed in 415 AD by some religious zealots. There are no written records on her involvement, but it is believed that she contributed significantly to the published work of her father.

Sophie Germain

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Marie-Sophie Germain took her inspiration from Archimedes and decided to go to a math academy for male in Paris under the name of a student who had withdrawn. Unfortunately, her achievement with Fermat’s Last Theorem was not recognized. She died at the age of 55.

Caroline Herschel

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Caroline Herschel was the first woman to be awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s gold medal. She is known for finding out about seven new comets. She could not grow taller than four foot three as the result of typhus at the age of ten. She became her brother’s assistant in 1781 after his discovery of Uranus. She enjoyed a long life and died at the age of 97.

Ada Lovelace

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Ada Lovelace’s father was the legendary poet Lord Byron. She is famous for her work on the world’s first programmable computer with Charles Babbage. Lovelace was one of the mathematicians who were far ahead of their time when she realized that the number machines Babbage came up with could turn any kind of content into the digital form. This idea was not fully appreciated until a century later.

Sofia Kovalevskaya

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Sofia Kovalevskaya was born in 1850 in Moscow, and it was her uncle who recognized her talent. He then talked her father into letting her attend private lessons. She had to enter into a marriage to be able to go to Germany. In this new country, she contributed enormously to mathematical analysis. After years of putting up with opposition from other male mathematicians, Kovalevskaya finally received professorship.

Emmy Noether

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Described as a creative mathematical genius by Albert Einstein, Emmy Noether did give lectures at universities, but as the result of the prejudice against female teaching at her time, she had to teach under the name of man. She made a name for herself by contributing to abstract algebra and theoretical physics.

Florence Nightingale


Florence Nightingale is known more as the person who revolutionized the nursing profession than a mathematician. To make her argument about the needed adjustments more convincing, she dug deep into statistics and made some achievement in this field. She was the first person to make use of circular diagrams and the inventor of the “polar area graph.”

Joan Clarke

Joan Clarke was among the mathematicians who invented the Enigma machine that could decipher the Nazi code. However, she could not develop more because of the stereotype of gender.

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

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She was the first person to observe the radio pulsars in the 1960s, which led to one of the most significant astronomical discoveries of the century. Her achievement was recognized by a Nobel Prize, but she was not the one to receive it although her name was listed in the second place on the paper. She also the first person to analyze a neutron star.

Radia Perlman

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Radia Perlman is the creator of the Spanning Tree Protocol algorithm (The Internet would not be possible without). She graduated from MIT, and her name was included in the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Some people her the mother of the Internet.