Meet History’s First Ladies Of Mathematics

Spark your daughter’s interest in mathematics by telling her about the women in history whose expertise with numbers earned them respect in their field.

In the 1700s, a French woman by the name of Gabrielle du Chatelet was one of the few women of her time to develop a talent for mathematics and physics. She collaborated with Voltaire on several written works about Sir Isaac Newton’s philosophies.

During the 1800s, Florence Nightingale applied her math expertise in nursing, making her a pioneer in the collection, analysis and explanation of quantitative data. During World War II, an algebraist and professor named Mina Rees assisted the military with her mathematical abilities. After the war, she headed the mathematics division of the Office of Naval Research.

These women paved the way but many more are sure to follow as universities report a steady rise in the number of women enrolled in mathematics and physics.

Source: Mathematical Association of America
Eddie Cheng, OU Distinguished Professor of Mathematics /Chair of Mathematics & Statistics

Content provided by Oakland University

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