Sunday, June 22, 2008


I could say so much about Emmy, but our four winners this month have said it much better and have provided some excellent links. Some of my personal thoughts about Emmy are given at the bottom, in my reply to Alex.

If you like the idea of an occasional anagram, let me know. Creating meaningful anagrams out of mathematicians' names can be formidable (certainly time-consuming!).

Our winners are...


Hi Dave,
I wasn't going to write, but I just couldn't pass this one up! I suppose a picture would give it away, so the anagram was a clever trick. I must say, it's about time -- a woman mathematician! And what a great one --Emmy Noether.
Now let's see - an anecdote. Well we could say that her obituary for the New York TImes was written by none other than Albert Einstein.

For a short little bio, here's the following from

Within the world mathematical community, Emmy Noether is widely regarded as the greatest of all woman mathematicians. She was born in the German university town of Erlangen, where her father, Max Noether, was a professor of mathematics. After receiving the Ph.D. degree from the University of Erlangen under Paul Gordan, Dr. Noether moved to the University of Göttingen, known in those days as the Mecca of Mathematics. There she developed as a world-class algebraist and taught a number of doctoral students who eventually became leading algebraists. Noether came to the United States in 1933, where she taught at Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia and lectured at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

Emmy Noether's name is known to many physicists through Noether's Theorem, described by Peter G. Bergmann as a cornerstone of work in general relativity as well as in certain aspects of elementary particles physics. For details, see Brewer and Smith, page 16.

Her name is known to mathematicians largely in connection with the adjective noetherian, which applies in ring theory to properties associated with ascending chains of subrings. Specifics are given in Brewer and Smith, page 18.

It is probably true that most algebraists have never heard of Noether's Theorem in physics and that most physicists have never heard of noetherian rings.

But to do her justice, I'll also include the following links:,_Amalie_Emmy@861234567.html

FInally, I love anagrams, actually puzzle of all kinds. So thanks for this one.



P. Miller

1. Emmy Noether
2. Worked for years w/o compensation


Hi Dave,

I thought the name had to have a hyphen - after that wild goose chase,
I managed to find the name of Emmy Noether.
Thanks, but for you, I would have never learned about this abstract algebraist.

Interesting Anecdote; There is a lunar crater named for her (and for
many other mathematicians, I find!)
Also, her obituary in the NY Times was written by Einstein.


(1) The name of the mathematician

Emmy Noether

(2) Some interesting info/anecdotes re said person

Emmy was a brilliant mathematician who struggled for recognition from university authorities, because of her sex. Other mathematicians could see her talent, though - she was mentored by Hilbert, who said "she is superior to me in many respects."

Late in her life, she taught in a girls' school in Pennsylvania. "The New York Times printed a short obituary, as it always did when a Bryn Mawr teacher died, but shortly thereafter, they printed a long letter to the editor pointing out that Emmy Noether had not only been a teacher at a girls' college, but the greatest woman mathematician of all time," wrote Freund in a book. "The letter was signed: Albert Einstein."

(3) Your sources (links, etc.)

Acting on your hint, I googled "First female mathematicians," which took me to this top ten, on which Emmy was tenth.
Here is the quote from Hilbert.
Here is the end quote.

By the way, here was my reply to Alex, which pretty much expresses my view of Emmy:

Thank you, Alex. It sure was nice of ol' Albert to acknowledge Emmy as the greatest 'woman' mathematician of all time. Imagine if some day, Emmy is recognized as the greatest mathematician/physicist of all time! Perhaps she would have acknowledged Albert as one of the best of his gender!!


Eric Jablow said...

David Hilbert lobbied the Göttingen faculty to allow Emmy Noether to teach there, saying “Gentlemen, this is not a bathhouse.”

Dave Marain said...

That's a great quote from Hilbert who had immense respect for Emmy's intuition and abstract reasoning! So tell me, a century later, is there true gender equity?

Alex Perrone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex Perrone said...

"(3) Your sources (links, etc.)

Acting on your hint, I googled "First female mathematicians," which took me to this top ten, on which Emmy was tenth."

She was tenth but it seems it was ranked chronologically