9 famous female mathematicians who changed the world and what we can learn from them (2023)

You are probably familiar with Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Alan Turing, but when it comes to famous mathematicians, their accomplishments are lesser known.

Unfortunately, even today a stereotype prevails that mathematics is a male subject and that girls are not good at it. This is often reinforced by the fact that most of the famous mathematicians we hear about are men.

Thankfully though, that couldn't be further from the truth, so in celebration of theInternational Women's Day, we've put together a fabulous list of some of the world's greatest and most famous maths that you can use all year round.

We hope you can use these inspiring people and their incredible work to show kids that math is about the journey of discovery, not someone's gender.

1. Maryam Mirzakhani, 1977-2017

What Maryam did:Iranian-born Maryam Mirzakhani was one of the greatest mathematicians of her generation, making notable contributions to the study of the dynamics and geometry of mathematical objects called Riemann surfaces.

She was a professor at Stanford University and earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University. In 2014, she was the first woman, and the first Iranian, to receive the Fields Medal (also known as the International Medal for Extraordinary Discoveries in Mathematics) for "her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their spaces". modular". .

Maryam's impact:His work has had a major impact on shaping his field and has opened up new frontiers of research that are just beginning to be explored. She shows us that even in a male-dominated field, women can be role models and lead the way forward with their discoveries.

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2. Katherine Johnson, 1918-2020

What Catherine did:Katherine fell in love with mathematics at an early age, studying the subject, along with French, at university, graduating summa cum laude at just 18. She joined NASA in 1953 and her contributions in orbital mechanics were crucial to the success of US aeronautics and space programs. In 2015, Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her outstanding work as a mathematician, physicist, and rocket scientist as a woman of color.

(Video) Famous Female Mathematicians who Changed the World 🔥 #shorts #iit_motivation #exam #maths

Katherine's Impact:Despite being one of the first three black women to attend West Virginia University, she dared to challenge the stereotypes that existed around her and has since become a pioneering example and role model for women of all ages. Everyone, especially for African American women in STEM.

She was responsible for calculating the trajectory of Project Mercury and the Apollo 11 flight to the moon, which means she helped the first spacecraft and the first Americans to reach the moon. Believing that "it's all physics and math", she encouraged girls to pursue careers in STEM and frequently lectured on the subject.

“Girls are capable of doing everything that men are capable of doing.”

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3. Dama Mary Lucy Cartwright, 1900-1998

What did she do:Mary Cartwright was an English mathematician and a woman of many firsts! Not only was she the first woman to earn a university degree, she was also one of the first mathematicians to study what is now known as chaos theory. She was the first woman to receive the Sylvester Medal (awarded for encouraging mathematical research), the first woman to be president of the Mathematical Association and the first mathematician to be president of the London Mathematical Society.

Mary's Impact:Thanks to his courage and audacity to challenge the status quo, his work has heavily influenced modern theory of dynamical systems, and he even has a mathematical theorem named after him!

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4. Sofia Kovalevskaya, 1850 - 1891

What Sofia did:Russian mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya made monumental contributions to analysis, partial differential equations, and mechanics. She was a pioneer and icon for women in math and STEM disciplines everywhere.

The first woman to earn a Ph.D. in the field of mathematics, she gained worldwide recognition in the mathematical community for her paper on partial differential equations. She also received the Bordin Prize from the French Academy of Sciences, an award given to the best solution of a specific mathematical problem.

(Video) Famous Female Mathematicians who Changed the World

Sofia Impact:Despite scrutiny and doubt from her male colleagues and society at large, Sofia refused to leave academia and paved the way for other famous mathematicians to follow in her footsteps.

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5. Sophie Germain, 1776-1831

What Sofia did:Marie-Sophie Germain was a French mathematician and physicist who, despite opposition from society (and her parents) due to her gender, persevered and contributed enormously to mathematics. Due to unfair gender restrictions at the time, she wasn't able to pursue a career in the subject, but that didn't stop her!

She worked on this independently throughout her life and through her hard work, she not only advanced the field of number theory, but was also one of the pioneers of the theory of elasticity, becoming the first woman to win the Paris Grand Prix. Academy of Sciences. for his essay on the subject.

Sofia Impact:She proved to those around her that their assumptions based on her gender were wrong and that women are amazing mathematicians. Although she was not allowed to attend university, through her unwavering determination and bravery, she became the first woman to make significant original contributions to mathematical research, and in doing so, she paved the way for women today.

6. Marjorie Lee Browne, 1914-1979

What Marjorie did:The gifted African-American mathematician and educator Marjorie Lee Browne was one of the first African-American women to earn a doctorate in mathematics. He joined the faculty of North Carolina Central University shortly after earning his Ph.D., where he taught for over thirty years. She was named chair of the Department of Mathematics in 1951, which allowed her to lead the way in some of the first uses of computers in her field.

Or Marjorie Impact:She noted that black women's lack of participation in STEM subjects was a major societal problem that needed to be addressed, and believed that education was a viable solution. She used her position as department chair at NCCU to win a fellowship to educate high school teachers in advanced mathematics. He also spent much of his time with local high school teachers teaching them about linear algebra and encouraging them to study for advanced degrees and raising the standard of math education in general in North Carolina. Her dedication to inspiring confidence in female math and providing quality education to others for the greater good has helped her become a role model for women in STEM everywhere.

“If I had to live my life over again, I wouldn't do anything else. I love Mathematics".

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7.Raquel Riley

What Rachel did:TV presenter Rachel Riley studied mathematics at Oxford University. At age 22, she joinedcountdownwhere he regularly applied his math skills, navigating rounds of letters and numbers to find solutions to tricky problems. He went on to host other shows including8 out of 10 cats have a countdownyo show de gadgets, and even starred as a contestant inStricly come dance!

Rachel Impact:Riley has visited many schools over the years in an effort to inspire children in the "joys of applied math, quantum mechanics and time travel" and increase the number of women participating in STEM subjects. She showed us that pursuing your passion and studying math in college can lead you down many different paths, including unconventional ones like a career in television!

"There's no reason why men are better at math than women, it's just our perception."

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8. Malala Yousafzai

What Malala did:Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for women's rights to education and the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize, aged just 17! She became involved in activism when she was just 11 and began writing blogs for the BBC detailing what life was like under Taliban rule and her beliefs about the important role education plays for girls around the world, especially in Pakistan. .

At her home in Swat Valley province, the Taliban banned the girls from attending school. After appearing inNew York Timesdocumentary, she gained worldwide recognition as a speaker on girls' education and has since sparked a sea change in this field.

He studied A-Level Mathematics and is currently studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at the University of Oxford. She has won many awards and was named one of theTime MagazineThe “100 Most Influential People in the World”!

Malala's Impact:Due to the nature of Malala's work, one morning there was an attempt on her life on her way to school. She was unsuccessful and refused to let that stop her from fighting for her cause and continuing to speak and interview for women's educational rights. Her story led the United Nations to launch a campaign for the education of all children around the world, which eventually led to Pakistan's first right to education bill.

(Video) how my home-schooling experience changed my life - an 'alternative' childhood

Malala's courageous and determined actions illustrate that women have the power to change the world, regardless of contemporary society's beliefs, and that education can be a force for that change! It also shows us that education is a privilege, so if we want to keep studying math, we must!

“Education is neither eastern nor western. Education is education and it is a right of every human being”.

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9. Mayim Bialik

What Mayim did:American actress Mayim Bialik studied neuroscience at UCLA, where she earned a Ph.D. in 2007. She is best known for her role as Dr. Amy Fowler on the sitcomteoria do big bangbut he has starred in countless other TV shows and movies.

The impact of Mayim:Despite the early success of her acting career, Mayim decided to study neuroscience at university because she was passionate about the subject. She is a strong believer in women's participation in STEM subjects and has spoken at events on the subject, encouraging girls to pursue these subjects. He also plays bass and trumpet!

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The content of this article was originally written by elementary school teacher Sophie Bartlett and has since been revised and adapted for schools across the United States by elementary school math teacher Christi Kulesza.


Who is the greatest female mathematician of all time? ›

A giant in the world of STEM, Ada Lovelace not only holds the honour of being one of the most famous women in maths history, but she is also recognised as the first-ever computer programmer of any gender.

Who is a famous female mathematician who inspired students to become mathematicians themselves? ›

Noether's teaching method led her students to come up with ideas of their own, and many went on to become great mathematicians themselves. Many credited Noether for her part in teaching them to teach themselves.

Who is the first woman who is known to have taught mathematics? ›

But Hypatia became one of the first women to study and teach math, astronomy, and philosophy. In this painting, Hypatia is shown teaching at the Museum of Alexandria, which was kind of like a university that included many schools and the great library of Alexandria.

Who is the smartest female mathematician? ›

-Emmy Noether

Emmy Noether was born in Germany and is arguably the most influential women mathematician in history.

Who is the queen of mathematics? ›

Gauss, who is often known as the 'prince of mathematics', called mathematics the 'queen of the sciences' and considered number theory the 'queen of mathematics'.

What woman invented calculus? ›

Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799)

By the age of 20 she had started work on her most important contribution to mathematics, the book Analytical Institutions, which focused on differential and integral calculus.

Who is the modern woman mathematician? ›

Katherine Johnson, 1918 – present

In 2015 Barack Obama presented Katherine with the presidential medal of freedom for her contributions as a mathematician, physicist and space scientist.

Who was the most influential mathematician? ›

Leonhard Euler (1707-1783)

Considered the most prolific mathematician of all time, Leonhard Euler published over 900 works and invented the calculus of variations, including the Euler-Lagrange equation. He was also a pioneer in using analytic methods to solve number theory problems.

Who is the greatest mathematician alive today? ›

Tao has been the author or co-author of over three hundred research papers. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest living mathematicians and has been referred to as the "Mozart of mathematics".
Terence Tao.
Terence Tao FAA FRS
Alma materFlinders University (BS, MSc) Princeton University (PhD)
15 more rows

Who is the 5 mathematicians? ›

Some great mathematicians have long been household names - Archimedes, Isaac Newton. Some have recently come to fame in movies and on TV - Pierre de Fermat, Alan Turing, Srinivasa Ramanujan.

Who found zero? ›

Zero as a symbol and a value

The first time we have a record of zero being understood as both a symbol and as a value in its own right was in India. About 650 AD the mathematician Brahmagupta, amongst others, used small dots under numbers to represent a zero.

Who was the first woman to teach? ›

The woman who helped set up the first school for girls in India. Savitribai Phule was a trailblazer in providing education for girls and for ostracized portions of society. She became the first female teacher in India (1848) and opened a school for girls with her husband, Jyotirao Phule.

Is there a woman genius? ›

They were close in age, both enormously talented, and yet the impact they left behind is so strikingly different," Kalb says. Not that there haven't been female geniuses in history or living today. There are names we hear often, such as Hypatia, Ada Lovelace, Marie Curie, Mary Shelley, and Rear Admiral Dr.

Is math related to god? ›

Math is also a reason to praise God for His faithfulness. The reason we can rely on math is because our faithful, all-powerful God is consistently holding our universe together (Colossians 1:17 ). He ensures that the principles of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division will always result in clear answers.

Who is the smartest at math? ›

The most reliable record-high IQ score belongs to Terence Tao, with a confirmed IQ of 230. Tao is an Australian-American mathematician born in 1975, who showed a formidable aptitude for mathematics from a very young age.

Who is the god of mathematics in world? ›

Srinivasa Ramanujan
Srinivasa Ramanujan FRS
AwardsFellow of the Royal Society (1918)
Scientific career
InstitutionsTrinity College, Cambridge
12 more rows

Who was the youngest person to learn calculus? ›

Indian-American ophthalmologist and academic Balamurali Ambati was doing calculus when he was four years old and co-authored a research book on AIDS when he was 11. At 13, he completed his studies at New York University.

Who invented algebra? ›

Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi: The Father of Algebra.

Who gave birth calculus? ›

Leibniz's Paper on Calculus

But Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz independently invented calculus. He invented calculus somewhere in the middle of the 1670s. He said that he conceived of the ideas in about 1674, and then published the ideas in 1684, 10 years later.

Who is the No 2 mathematician of the world? ›

2. Archimedes: Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, physicist, and astronomer who lived around 287 BC in Syracuse, Sicily.

Who is the greatest mathematician of 21st century? ›

They Had Gauss, We Had Michael Atiyah, One Of The Greatest Mathematicians Of 21st Century. Michael Atiyah is a mathematician who had single-handedly changed the face of differential geometry. He studied in Cambridge where he became a Fellow of Trinity College and later held professorships at Princeton and Oxford.

Which math discoveries changed the world? ›

Pythagorean theorem:

According to Pythagoras' theorem, the sum of the squares of two sides of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse.

Who are the three great mathematicians? ›

Mathematicians from all over the world who have made immense contributions to the field of Mathematics are: Euclid. Pythagoras. Archimedes.

Who is the youngest mathematician? ›

Noam Elkies
Scientific career
InstitutionsHarvard University
ThesisSupersingular primes of a given elliptic curve over a number field (1987)
7 more rows

Who found infinity? ›

infinity, the concept of something that is unlimited, endless, without bound. The common symbol for infinity, ∞, was invented by the English mathematician John Wallis in 1655.

Who invented the number? ›

The Egyptians invented the first ciphered numeral system, and the Greeks followed by mapping their counting numbers onto Ionian and Doric alphabets.

Did the Greek invent math? ›

To some extent, however, the legend of the 6th Century BCE mathematician Pythagoras of Samos has become synonymous with the birth of Greek mathematics. Indeed, he is believed to have coined both the words "philosophy" ("love of wisdom") and "mathematics" ("that which is learned").

Who fought for women's education? ›

Savitribai Phule was also the first female teacher in Indian history. Agencies The first women teacher and headmistress in Indian history, Savitribai Phule is known as the mother of Indian women education.

Who is World's First woman? ›

*** इस पृष्ठ को हिंदी में पढ़े ***‌
First woman in spaceValentina TereshkovaUSSR
First woman to scale Mt EverestJunko TabeiJapan
First woman to win an Olympic goldCharlotte CooperEngland
First woman Prime Minister in the worldSirimavo BandaranaikeSri Lanka
First American woman in spaceSally RideUSA
2 more rows

Who is the first woman woman? ›

Lilith, The Legend of the First Woman is a 19th-century rendition of the old rabbinical legend of Lilith, the first woman, whose life story was dropped unrecorded from the early world, and whose home, hope, and Eden were passed to another woman.

Who is the No 1 mathematician of all time? ›

1. Pythagoras. The life of the famous Greek Pythagoras is somewhat mysterious. Probably born the son of a seal engraver on the island of Samos, Pythagoras has been attributed with many scientific and mathematical discoveries in antiquity.

Who is considered the world's greatest mathematician? ›

If Newton is considered the greatest scientist of all time, Gauss could easily be called the greatest mathematician ever. Carl Friedrich Gauss was born to a poor family in Germany in 1777 and quickly showed himself to be a brilliant mathematician.

Who was the most brilliant mathematician? ›

Leonhard Euler (1707- 1783)

The most prolific mathematician of all time, publishing close to 900 books.

Who is the smartest mathematician today? ›

Ten Most Influential Mathematicians Today
  • Keith Devlin. Dr. ...
  • Terence Tao. Terence (Terry) Chi-Shen Tao (born July 17, 1975) is a professor of math at the University of California, Los Angeles. ...
  • Ian Stewart. Dr. ...
  • John Stillwell. John Colin Stillwell (born 1942) is a Ph. ...
  • Bruce C. Berndt. ...
  • Timothy Gowers. ...
  • Peter Sarnak. ...
  • Martin Hairer.
Mar 25, 2022

Who is the youngest mathematician in the world? ›

Noam Elkies
Scientific career
InstitutionsHarvard University
ThesisSupersingular primes of a given elliptic curve over a number field (1987)
7 more rows

Who invented infinity? ›

infinity, the concept of something that is unlimited, endless, without bound. The common symbol for infinity, ∞, was invented by the English mathematician John Wallis in 1655.

Who is the greatest mathematician of the 20th century? ›

Grothendieck is considered by many to be the greatest mathematician of the twentieth century. In an obituary David Mumford and John Tate wrote: Although mathematics became more and more abstract and general throughout the 20th century, it was Alexander Grothendieck who was the greatest master of this trend.

Who has the smartest IQ in the world? ›

There is not a distinct answer to who has the highest IQ, but it is not Albert Einstein. Those with higher IQs in comparison with Einstein include William James Sidis, Leonardo Da Vinci and Marilyn vos Savant. Sidis was a child prodigy whose IQ was estimated to be anywhere between 200 to 300, says parade.com.


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