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Top 10 Women in Math History

Did you know that throughout history, women have played a major role in the science of mathematics?. You may be pleasantly surprised by the names you find here.

These are only a personal opinion. No links are given as this page is designed to spark an interest in women, math, and history. Have fun exploring little known math facts on these women who have made quite a mark in the field of mathematics! We hope that you will research more women in math and science, and come up with your own top ten list.

#10 Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia (1646-1684). First woman in the world to receive a PhD.

#9 Hypatia (lived around 400 ad) The first woman to have an impact on the science of math. She was ruthlessly murdered in her hometown of Alexandria.

#8 Winifred Edgerton (1862-1951) First American woman to recieve a PhD in mathematics. Born in Wisconsin, she received her PhD from Columbia. After completing all the requirements, she was turned down the first time.

#7 Florence Nightingale ( 1820-1910) What did she have to do with mathematics? She revolutionized how statistics are gathered and displayed.

#6 Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) She discovered a comet, but apparently never learned her times tables!

#5 Mary Everest Boole (1832-1916) Became most interested in teaching math and science to children. Used "string geometry" to help depict shapes.  Yes, she was a bit odd in her "other" beliefs, but aren't we all?

#4 Sophie Germain (1776-1831) She developed a theorem that is a basis for proving Fermat's Last Theorem. Certain prime numbers are called "Sophie Germain Primes."

#3 Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718 - 1799 ) Wrote a book on calculus and an equation that when graphed became known as "The Witch of Agnesi."

#2 Ada Lovelace Daughter of Lord Byron (1815-1852) Worked with Charles Babbage and his counting machines. Could she possibly be the first person to think about programming computers?

#1 Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) THE first lady of computers. Had major impact on the first computers. Supposedly came up with the computer slang word "bug." Was member of the US Navy and reached the rank of Rear Admiral. Without her, you probably wouldn't be seeing this!

And there you have them! I know many of you will disagree,but these are MY favorites. I encourage anyone to get further information on the many colorful and brilliant woman who have been overlooked in the mathematics history books. Do a search if you want more information.

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