Women In The Math World Essay

1540 words - 6 pages

Women in the Math World
Works Cited Not Included

Math is commonly known as the man’s major. Many college math
professors are men and the same goes for their students. "One study
revealed that women accounted for 15% of students in computer science,
16% in electrical engineering,. . . Gender splits in the faculty were
similar" (Cukier). There are few women that have made an impact on
the math society compared with the number of men. A person can ramble off
names such as Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Pythagoras of Samos, and
Jean-François Niceron. Where are the women mathematicians? This
paper will examine the lives of women that have made an impact on the
world of mathematics. There might be more men in the field of
mathematics however the women that have made contributions need to be
seen as equals. Three women that have made an impact include Mary
Fairfax Somerville, Maria Gaetana Agnesi and Charlotte Angas Scott.

Mary Fairfax Somerville was born on December 26, 1780 into a wealthy
family of a vice admiral in the British Navy. While growing up she
recieved little formal education. The one year that she spent in a
boarding school for girls in Musselburgh, she endured a life full of
rules and because unhappy. Mary became interested in mathematics
while reading a women's fashion magnize. She noticed symbols in the
magazine that she had not noticed before and asked her brother's tutor
about the symbols. She convinced him to purchase some math for her
for futher examination. Her studies in math did not go farther then
this until after she married and her husband died, leaving her in good
economic standing and independent. After her husbands death "she
mastered J. Ferguson's Academy and became a student of Issac Newton's
Principia" (Cite). In 1825, she began an experiment on magnetism that
lead to a her paper entitled 'The Magnetic Properties of the Violet
Rays of the Solar Spectrum'. The paper was presented in front of the
Royal Society, where she became the first women to present to the
Royal Society. This paper was later disproved however it was a
starting point for her career in mathematics and for women in the
field. In 1827, she started what would become her most successful
study. Lord Brougham convinced her to "write a popularized rendition
of Laplace's Mecanique celeste and Newton's Principia" (Cite). The
paper was publised as 'The Mechanism of the Heavens'. Her paper was so
successful, "a portrait bust of her was commisioned by her admirers in
the Royal Society and placed in their great hall" (Cite). She went on
to write many more books on mathematics which earned her election to
the Royal Astronomical Society as the first women. Mary Fairfax
Somerville lead the pathway for women in the man's world.

Maria Gaetana Agnesi was...

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