Hypatia – Influential Mathematician and Philosopher
–Perhaps the first woman to make a substantial contribution to the development of mathematics
–Murdered by her adversaries
Her influence as a mathematician, philosopher and teacher in ancient Alexandria, Egypt –at a time when opportunities for women were practically non-existent– was so great that Carl Sagan paid tribute to her in his book Cosmos. Hypatia has also been recognized in art work and novels throughout history. Born between the years 355 and 370 A.D., Hypatia, collaborating with her father (the mathematician Theon) furthered the work of Ptolemy’s astronomy and a new version of Euclid’s Elements (the basic text in the history of geometry). She was an early proponent of scientific thought based on rational, sound evidence. Ironically, these qualities led to Hypatia’s brutal murder at around 416 A.D. by a sect of the Christian Church which viewed her influence as dangerous and paganistic.
To read more about Hypatia and other exciting role models in science and engineering, visit the USA Science & Engineering Festival www.usasciencefestival.org