The Female Mathematician Who Inspired Einstein You May Never Have Heard OfBy Chris Brandt, UniversityHerald Reporter
Everybody knows about Ada Lovelace or Marie Curie but when you mention Emmy Noether, a lot of people would most probably say, "Emmy Noether who?" That's how obscure or less popular she is considering the fact that her theorem is considered one of the foundations of modern physics. Moreover, her work was what inspired Albert Einstein.
Amalie Emmy Noether was born in 1882 and was the most remarkable female mathematician only a few people heard of. Yet, her theorem is as important as Einstein's theory of relativity. In fact, Einstein himself acknowledged Noether as a pure mathematical genius who emerged since the "higher education of women began."
Noether had conducted numerous groundbreaking research but the most significant was the theorem that linked the universal laws of conservation and the symmetry in nature. Often considered by scientists and mathematicians as the most beautiful theorems in physics, her work has been applied to every day principles of energy conservation.
Why has Emmy Noether remained obscure despite her work being the most significant in physics and publishing numerous other research?
First of all, Noether was born in a time and era where women were overlooked. In order to have her work published and recognized, she published them using a male pseudonym. Second, Noether was a Jew in a Germany dominated by the Nazis. Despite the fact that it was illegal for women to go to university, she managed to graduate and even became a professor. When the Nazis totally occupied Germany, she was kicked out of her position as a professor.
With all negative factors - being a female and a Jew - prevalent in her life. Noether and her work were pushed into oblivion. However, as the cliche goes, you can never put a good (wo)man down; thus, her genius seeped through the cracks ob oblivion and it shone for all the world to see until she was fully recognized. Unfortunately, she was not there to receive the honor due her.