Emmy Noether, the famous mathematician who gave 20 years of free classes just because she was a woman | The weekly country

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 Emmy Noether, the famous mathematician who gave 20 years of free classes just because she was a woman |  The weekly country

No serious study has found a gender bias in our brain’s capacity for math. If for many years the world of mathematics has resembled a diocesan seminary in the post-war period, it is not because of any reason of biological origin, but because society restricts women’s access to careers in science. A good example of this is the case of mathematics…

No serious study has found a gender bias in our brain’s capacity for math. If for many years the world of mathematics has resembled a diocesan seminary in the post-war period, it is not because of any reason of biological origin, but because society restricts women’s access to careers in science. A good example of this is the case of mathematician Emmy Noether.

Amalie Emmy Noether was the daughter of a German Jewish merchant family. His father taught himself mathematics while working in the family business, earned a doctorate in Heidelberg and secured a position as a professor at the university in the city of Erlangen. His brother Fritz Noether was a famous mathematician, and his older brother, Alfred, earned a doctorate in Chemistry, although he died young.

When she was young, Emmy did not show the same passion for science as most of her family, becoming more interested in languages ​​and music. In 1903, a change in German law allowed women to go to university studies. Emmy attended the University of Göttingen as a student and found her vocation listening to the classes of astronomer Karl Schwarzschild (the one who postulated the existence of black holes based on Einstein’s equations ) or the great mathematicians David Hilbert or Hermann Minkowski. In 1907 he obtained his doctorate under the direction of Paul Gordan, although he was not satisfied with his work at the time, years later he described his thesis as rubbish.

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She was the second woman to obtain a doctorate in Mathematics in Germany, where women were allowed access to university studies, but not to teachers. Emmy Noether began researching and teaching at the University of Erlangen, sometimes replacing her father, but not receiving any kind of emolument. However, his mathematical ability began to be recognized and appreciated. Two of her professors in Göttingen tried to offer her a teaching position at their university, but, again, she was denied access to the teaching staff because of her status as a woman. He continued to do research in Göttingen, but did not get a salary and had to take care of his own support. He can only teach unannounced classes, replacing David Hilbert. Despite these precarious conditions, Noether made his greatest contribution to science during his stay in Göttingen, Noether’s theorem, which established that any conservation law in physics comes from symmetry. It seems simple, but it is one of the foundations of modern theoretical physics and many authors compare its importance to that of the Pythagorean theorem for geometry.

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In 1919, after the November Revolution, he was allowed to take the qualifying exam to become a university teacher, which he successfully passed. Three years later he obtained special permission to become a professor at the University of Göttingen, but without pay. The following year, he was finally promoted to professor of Algebra and received official pay, after a nearly 20-year career at the expense of his own resources and already considered one of the most important German mathematicians. During this time he made important contributions to the field of algebra which is studied in all textbooks.

In the 1930s he received recognition and awards for his work as a mathematician. In 1933, the rise of the Nazis caused him to be expelled from the university because of his Jewishness. For a time he continued teaching at home. She eventually immigrated to the United States, where she found a position at Bryn Mawr Women’s College in Pennsylvania and continued her scientific career. But for a short time. Two years later she died of complications arising from an operation to remove an ovarian cyst. He is 53 years old. A short life, but enough to develop some of the most beautiful theorems in mathematics.

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JM Mulet is a professor of Biotechnology.

Emmy’s was not the only premature end in her family

—His brother Fritz was also purged by the racial laws of the Third Reich from his position as a university professor. With leftist ideas, he emigrated to the Soviet Union, where he got a position at Tomsk State University. In 1937, during the great Stalinist purges, he was convicted of espionage and sabotage, and later sentenced to death, accused of making anti-Soviet propaganda. He was shot on September 10, 1941 in the Medvedev Forest Massacre. His body was completely unsteady. In 1988, the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union ruled that his conviction was unfounded and he was rehabilitated. A little late…