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Hypatia – the earliest female mathematician

Hypatia was the earliest female mathematician. She was born 350 CE and died 415 CE. This makes her about 65 years of age. She was the daughter of Theon. He was a mathematician and an astronomer. Theon is most known for his preservation of Euclid’s Elements. Additionally, he is known for his writing and comments on Ptolemy’s books, Almagest and Handy Tables.

Theon influenced Hypatia greatly; she continued his program. This program was to preserve mathematical and astronomical Greek heritage in scarce times. She is accredited with the comments she made on Apollonius of Perga Conics, geometry, and Diophantus of Alexandria’s Arithmetic, number system. She pushed her father’s thoughts. In her time she was the lead mathematician and astronomer. She is the only woman who can say this. Hypatia lectured and taught philosophical topics. Many listened to her with loyalty. Her philosophies were considered Neoplatonist. People considered her a pagan. Being a pagan means having beliefs that most of the world does not have.

Hypatia was considered a pagan due to the conflict between Jews (both types), Christians, and pagans. Hypatia was an extraordinary woman. She went against Greek tradition by the way she was raised. Theon, her father, raised her as a son. This meant that he would teach her his ways. She grew up to be a very intelligent woman, always surrounded by men. Consequently, she died unmarried with no kids. This was because she dedicated her life to learning and teaching others. Hypatia was good at all types of math. She was better than most men. Her skills included Algebra, Geometry, Astronomy, and good writing styles. According to Deakin, “The breadth of her interests is most impressive. Within mathematics, she wrote or lectured on astronomy (including its observational aspects – the astrolabe), geometry (and for its day advanced geometry at that) and algebra (again, for its time, difficult algebra), and made an advance in computational technique – all this as well as engaging in religious philosophy and aspiring to a good writing style. Her writings were, as best we can judge, an outgrowth of her teaching in the technical areas of mathematics.

In effect, she was continuing a program initiated by her father: a conscious effort to preserve and to elucidate the great mathematical works of the Alexandrian heritage (112)”. Hypatia’s death was a murder. On her way home from lecturing at the university she was attacked by the Christian mob. She was dragged out of her chariot by the monks. They then brought her into a church where she was stripped of her clothing and beaten. Even though, she was beaten to death the mob of Christian monks burned her. They thought she was a witch. In my opinion, Hypatia is one of the most successful women.

She must have dealt with a lot to get to the position she did. Hypatia can be seen as an inspiration to little girls all around the world. She was the first female mathematician and one of the world’s underrated role models.

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