For Women’s History Month, we’ll be featuring biographies of women in history who may have beenforgotten, neglected, or misunderstood by traditional history books. In this edition: three women who contributed to the world’s mathematical understanding.
Sorry, Steve Jobs, but Lord Byron’s daughter Ada Lovelace may just be the pioneering genius behind modern day computer science. Lady Byron steered her daughter toward science and mathematics, which inspired her to work wit Charles Babbage, a mathematics professor whose Difference Engine is often considered the first proto-computer.
Read more about her in: Ada’s Algorithm: How Lord Byron’s Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the Digital Age by James Essinger
Albert Einstein called Noether the most important woman in the history of mathematics, and even if you’ve never heard her name before, you’re familiar with her work if you’ve ever studied abstract algebra or theoretical physics.
Read more about her in: Emmy Noether: The Mother of Modern Algebra by M.B.W. Tent
Leavitt’s work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s was supposed to be methodical and uncreative, but Leavitt was too intelligent to record without analyzing. Using blinking stars to determine brightness and distance from the Earth, Leavitt helped astronomers understand that the universe was much larger than anyone had previously suspected.
Read more about her in: Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh
This information was originally published in the winter 2015 issue of home/school/life, but Women’s History Month seemed like the perfect time to bring it to the blog. You can read the full article—with lots of other cool women included—in that issue.