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Emmy Noether is considered as the most important female mathematician in history. She was a German scholar known for her landmark contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. As one of the leading mathematicians of her time, she developed the theories of rings, fields, and algebras. In Physics, Noether’s theorem explained the connection between symmetry and conservation laws.
See the fact file below for more information on Emmy Noether or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Emmy Noether worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Amalie “Emmy” Noether was born on March 23, 1882 in a small university town in Bavaria, Germany to Ida Amalia Kaufmann and Max Noether, a professor at the University of Erlangen and a distinguished mathematician.
- As a child, Emmy received the education typical for girls of her time, learning household chores, music and dancing, as well as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Although she did not stand out academically, it was apparent that she has an aptitude for logic.
- Emmy graduated from a Höhere Töchter Schule in Erlangen, where she became proficient in French and English, and became a certified language teacher in a Bavarian girls’ schools in 1900.
- But young Emmy’s interest still lay in mathematics, and soon after teaching language, she decided to pursue mathematics and continue her education at the University of Erlangen.
- Her decision was considered as a challenging path for a woman at the time, as women could only attend lectures unofficially and only with the permission of a lecturer. Nevertheless, Emmy passed her final graduation examination in July 1903, and the following semester she went to the University of Gӧttingen. When restrictions against female enrollment were repealed, Emmy transferred back to Erlangen for her Doctorate degree, and in 1907, she was awarded her Ph.D. in Mathematics.
Career in Mathematics
- From 1908 until 1915, she worked at the Mathematical Institute of Erlangen without pay while conducting research studies. Renowned mathematicians Felix Klein and David Hilbert invited Emmy to join the mathematics department faculty at the University of Gӧttingen in 1915. Accepting the offer, Emmy lectured students for four years under Hilbert’s name, and was criticized by many of her colleagues at the time for working at the university.
- In 1919, she was granted a “Privatdozentin” title, which certified her to teach, but she still did not get paid. It was only in 1922, when Emmy became an associate professor, that she received a menial salary for her service.
Despite her brilliant contributions, Emmy was not promoted to professor because of gender bias. She spent the next few years as a guest lecturer at various institutions, including University of Moscow from 1928 to 1929, University of Frankfurt in 1930, and International Mathematical Congress in Zurich in 1932. She remained a faculty member of the Gӧttingen mathematics department until 1933.
- Göttingen served as one of the foremost centers of mathematics in Germany until the Nazi party rose to power. Emmy Noether, an educated Jewish woman and philosophical activist, continued to teach there until she was dismissed by the new Nazi racial laws in 1933.
- With a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and help from Albert Einstein, she was able to find refuge at the Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania as a guest professor, where she received a full salary and was accepted as an official teaching staff member. She also began to teach at the prestigious Princeton University’s Institute of Advanced Study.
- From 1907 to 1919, Emmy worked in the field of algebraic invariant theory, Galois theory, and physics. She was able to prove two theorems that were significant for elementary particle physics and general relativity. “Noether’s Theorem” is considered as one of the important contributions in the advancement of modern physics that helped Albert Einstein formulate his relativity theory.
- Between 1920 and 1926, Emmy devoted her time to studying the theory of mathematical rings. Her works became a breakthrough in abstract algebra when she postulated a number of principles unifying topology, logic, geometry, algebra, and linear algebra. Her study based on chained conditions on the ideals of commutative rings were praised by many mathematicians from different countries and generations.
- Her 1921 paper “Idealtheorie in Ringbereichen” (Theory of Ideals in Ring Domains) became the foundation for commutative ring theory, with the “Noetherian rings” and “Noetherian ideals” forming part of her mathematical contributions.
- Between 1927 and 1935, her studies revolved around non-commutative algebras, representation theory, hyper-complex numbers, and linear transformations.
- While working at the Erlangen, Emmy Noether published several papers on theoretical algebra in which she worked with Algebraist Ernst Otto Fischer. She also collaborated with Felix Klein and David Hilbert on a study focusing on Einstein’s general relativity theory.
- For her groundbreaking discoveries, Emmy was awarded the Ackermann-Teubner Memorial Prize in Mathematics in 1932.
Death and Legacy
- However, in early 1935, Emmy died unexpectedly four days after an apparently normal post-operative recuperation from the removal of a large ovarian cyst and two smaller benign tumors in her pelvis. She was only 53 years of age and at the peak of her prolific power and genius.
- The University of Erlangen paid tribute to Emmy after World War II ended, and a co-ed gymnasium dedicated to mathematics was named after her.
- Emmy’s ashes were buried near the Bryn Mawr library.
- In an obituary published in the New York Times in 1935, Albert Einstein wrote, “In the judgment of the most competent living mathematicians, Fräulein Noether was the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began.”
Emmy Noether Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Emmy Noether across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Emmy Noether worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Emmy Noether who is considered as the most important female mathematician in history. She was a German scholar known for her landmark contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. As one of the leading mathematicians of her time, she developed the theories of rings, fields, and algebras. In Physics, Noether’s theorem explained the connection between symmetry and conservation laws.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Fast Facts
- Emmy’s Logbook
- Art and Math
- Something About Emmy
- Women can be Mathematicians Too
- Modern Women of STEM
- Emmy Speaks Up
- Equal Opportunity for All
- Danke, Professor Noether
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Use With Any Curriculum
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