BIOGRAPHIES


On this page you will find some general sources for biographies of women mathematicians, and also some biographies of  individuals, in particular a selection of profiles of some female mathematicians from Latin America. Please let us know if you are aware of other good sources which might be included.

 


GENERAL SOURCES FOR BIOGRAPHIES

 


Agnes Scott College: Biographies of Women in Math

The Biographies of Women in Math pages are part of an ongoing project at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia, to illustrate the numerous achievements of women in the field of mathematics. You will find biographical essays or comments on the women mathematicians profiled on this site, as well as additional resources about women in mathematics. Each time this page is reloaded, a randomly selected photo is displayed to the left (if Javascript is enabled). Click on the image to go to the profile of that woman.

Here is a geographic index (by location of birth).

The website also has a wonderful bibliography section which currently lists over 450 articles and books about women in mathematics, many of them biographies of individual women.

This webpage has been created by Larry Riddle of the college.


Algumas Mulheres da História da Matemática by João Batista do Nascimento (2013)

Article  entitled “Some women from the history of mathematics” (Portuguese)

Black Women in Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences

Webpages  brought to you by The Mathematics Department of The State University of New York at Buffalo,  created and maintained by Prof Scott W. Williams Professor of Mathematics of SUNYB.

British Women Mathematicians, 200 years of history

A talk by Caroline Series (1996) about the lives of some British women mathematicians.

Davis Archive

This archive contains details of the approximately 2500 women who graduated in mathematics from universities in Britain and Ireland before 1940. It is also part of the St Andrews site.

MacTutor list of female mathematicians 

This list is part of the St Andrews University History of Maths website. Pages created by John O’Connor and Edmund F Robertson of University of St Andrews (Scotland) Mathematics Department.

Oregon Women in Math Project

Here is a list of biographies of female mathematical scientists, part of the  University of Oregon Women in Math Project.

Pioneer Women in Chaos Theory   Article by Frank Wang, arxiv 2009.

“The general public has been made aware of the research field of “chaos” by the book of that title by James Gleick. This paper will focus on the achievements of Sonya Kovalevskaya, Mary Cartwright, and Mary Tsingou, whose pioneer works were not mentioned in Gleick’s book.”


The Philippa Fawcett Collection

This is a wide-ranging library of books written by and about women who studied or worked in mathematical subjects in the nineteenth and first part of the twentieth century, or earlier. It is held in the library of the London Mathematical Society. It is named in honour of Philippa Fawcett, who in 1890 came top in the Mathematical Tripos at the University of Cambridge. Since  women could not be ranked alongside men, Fawcett was described as ‘above the Senior Wrangler’.

Wikipedia pages on Women Mathematicians

This is another good source of information, if rather random in the women who are featured.

Women of Mathematics. A Biobibliographic Sourcebook

Edited by Louise S. Grinstein and Paul J. Campbell
Greenwood press, 1987
“This collection includes biographic sketches and bibliographies of 43 women mathematicians ranging from Hypatia (370-415) to Grace Murray Hopper (1906-).  ….A major contribution to the history of mathematics and of women.”

Women in Science  European commission, 2009

This e-audio- book contains accounts of the lives of many female scientists.


Women in Science: A  selection of 16 Significant Contributors

Presented by the San Diego Supercomputer (1997). A pdf version is available through the link. This book contains an excellent biobliography for further reading.


Women Scientists in the Americas
(for low resolution version see here.)

The inspiring stories of prominent women scientists from across the Americas. A publication of IANAS, the Inter-American Network of Academies of Sciences (2013).


BIOGRAPHIES OF INDIVIDUALS

 

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was the only legitimate daughterof the poet Lord Byron. She is chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Because of this, she is often described as the world’s first computer programmer. There are several biographies of Ada, among them:  Ada, Countess of Lovelace: Byron’s Legitimate Daughter by Doris Langley Moore (John Murray 1977);  The calculating passion of Ada Byron‘ by Joan Baum (Shoe String Press Inc 1986); Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers by  Betty A. Toole (Strawberry Press 1998); ; The Bride of Science by  Benjamin Woolley (McGraw Hill, 2002). Many articles and links about Ada can be found here.

Sonia Kovalveskaya (1850-1891)

Sonia Kovalevskaya was the first major Russian female mathematician, responsible for important original contributions to analysis, differential equations and mechanics, and the first woman appointed to a full professorship in Northern Europe. She was also one of the first women to work for a scientific journal as an editor.  There are  a number of biographies of Sonia: especially recommended are her autobiographical memoir A Russian childhood  and the biography A Convergence of Lives by Ann Hibner Koblitz.


Emmy Noether (1882-1935)

Emmy Noether has often been described  as the most important woman in the history of mathematics, she revolutionized the theories of rings,fields, and algebras. Numerous accounts of her life are to be found on the internet.

Her biography Emmy Noether 1882-1935 by Auguste Dick, first published 1982, has recently been republished Birkhauser 2012.


Mary Somerville (1780 – 1872)

Mary Somerville was an outstanding mathematician and scientist of the Victorian period. Her scientific contributions were doubly significant: not only was she a woman working within a predominantly male domain, but modern science itself was a fledgling field struggling to claim a place in Victorian culture. Somerville College, Oxford is named in her honour.

This link gives various sources. Especially recommended is her autobiographical memoir Personal Recollections, from Early Life to Old Age edited by her daughter, Martha Somerville and recently reprinted.




SOME FEMALE MATHEMATICIANS FROM LATIN AMERICA

In alphabetical order by country

ARGENTINA


Eleonor Harboure
(Click on her name on the list here.)

First female president of Union Matematica Argentina


Photo courtesy
Cora Sol Goldstein

Cora Ratto de Sadosky (1912 – 1981)

Here is a biography (Spanish) of Cora Ratto de Sadosky (Cora Sadosky’s mother), a pioneering woman in mathematics who became a professor of mathematics at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here is another biography in English.

Photo courtesy
Cora Sol Goldstein

Cora Sadosky (1940 – 2010)

Cora Sadosky, daughter of Cora Ratto de Sadosky, was born in Buenos Aires. Her father, Manuel Sadosky, was a founding director of the Computer Science Center at the university. Cora received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1965. She served as President of AWM 1993-1995.


Photo courtesy
Vera W. de Spinadel

Vera W. de Spinadel  (1929 –  )

 

Here is a curriculum of Vera Martha Winitzky de Spinadel.

Vera received her PhD in Mathematics in 1958 at Buenos Aires University (UBA), where she was awarded the emeritus professor status in 2010. Vera directs the Mathematics and Design Lab and Center and is  Logomyd President of the International Society of Mathematics and Design. This interdisciplinary Society provides academic identity to researchers working in mathematics and design.


BRAZIL

 

Keti Tenenblat

Photo courtesy
Keti Tenenblat

Keti Tenenblat was born in 1944 in Turkey,  where she attended her first six elementary school years at an Italian school.  In 1957, her family emigrated to Brazil.  She had a distinguished career as a mathematician working in differential geometry in Brazil, and then became emeritus professor at the University of Brasilia.

Keti Tenenblat was the first woman to be president of the Brazilian Mathematical Society and became the first female  member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences in 1991.  A tribute to K. Tenenblat written by her advisor, M. do Carmo, can be found here.

 

CUBA

Photo courtesy Lilliam Alvarez

Lilliam Margarita Alvarez Díaz

Lilliam was born in Cuba, where she received her PhD in Physics and Mathematics in 1989. Her area of expertise is in Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations with applications in Engineering and Physics. She has advised more than 20 female PhD students in Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina.

In 1998 she earned the National Prize for the Best Scientific Book written in Cuba entitled “Métodos Numéricos del Análisis Matemático”. She is a great promoter of gender discussions in Science and Technology and has written many papers on the subject, among which the 2010 book entitled “To be a woman in science or to die trying”.

She is a Merit Member of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, where she is the head of the Commission of Women in Sciences and of the Group of Promotion of Sciences.
Since 2008 she has been a member of the World Academy of Science for the developing world,(TWAS) and member of the Election Committee for Mathematics. She is member of the ICSU-Regional Scientific Commitee for Latin America and the Caribbean where she participates actively in the Program for Strengthening of Mathematics Education in the region. She is also Co-chair of the IANAS Program of Women in Science. IANAS is a Network of the Academies of Sciences in the Americas.


PERU

 

Photo courtesy
Y. Garcia Ramos

Yboon Garcia Ramos

Y.  Garcia Ramos was the first woman to obtain a PhD degree from UNI-IMCA (Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería – Insituto de Matemática y Ciencias Afines) in Lima. She works in applied mathematics and mathematical economics.

 

PARAGUAY

 

Photo courtesy
Gladys Ortiz Granada

Gladys Ortiz Granada

Gladys Ortiz Granada is professor at UNA,  the National University of Asunción in Paraguay. Gladys organized the first Paraguayan Congress in Pure and Applied Mathematics in 2011, see also here.

Gladys is the local coordinator of a new master program on Applied Mathematics at her  University.  This program is part of the activities led by the so-called Montevideo group,  gathering Universities from Argentina,  Brazil,  Paraguay and Uruguay.

 

URUGUAY

 

Photo courtesy
Adriana Piazza

Adriana Piazza, Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria, Valparaíso , Chile

Adriana works in optimisation, sustainable management of natural resources and mathematical economics.

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