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Google honours German maths pioneer

The Local · 23 Mar 2015, 11:14

Published: 23 Mar 2015 11:14 GMT+01:00

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“How many people do you know can count Albert Einstein as a fan of their work?” doodle artist Sophie Diao asked in her background piece to the work.

In fact, Einstein described Noether as “the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began” in a letter to the New York Times after her death in 1935.

Noether had spent almost two decades teaching students and researching at the University of Göttingen – which had only grudgingly accepted her after she had been teaching unofficially for four years – before leaving the country for America in 1933 after the Nazis forced all Jews out of university teaching positions.

Noether had followed in her father's footsteps to study maths at the University of Erlangen in Bavaria, where she graduated in 1907 and went on to work for free for seven years.

After moving to Göttingen in 1915, she became a member of the teaching staff in 1919 and soon amassed a following of “Noether's boys” among the students.

But alongside her teaching, Noether was pushing ahead with research – Diao cites subjects as diverse as “topology, ascending/descending chains, Noetherian rings, time, group theory, conservation of angular momentum, and continuous symmetries–and the list keeps going on and on from there! “

By the time she addressed the International Congress of Mathematicians in Zurich in 1932, she was a global star of the maths world.

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Einstein went on to write that Noether was one of the “genuine artists, investigators and thinkers” who passed on something of true value to following generations.

“In the realm of algebra, in which the most gifted mathematicians have been busy for centuries, she discovered methods which have proved of enormous importance in the development of the present-day younger generation of mathematicians.”

SEE ALSO: German heroes to inspire you for international women's day

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