Heroes of Learning: Emmy Noether

Imagine you are a member of the Taliban, or one of their admirers in the Humanities Departments of certain western Universities, and you read about someone who made some of the most important contributions ever in theoretical physics. That this person collaborated closely with Albert Einstein. Then went on to transform mathematics. But you discover that this person was a woman. How do you feel now about banning education for women?

Emily Noether (1882-1935) began her working life as a teacher of foreign languages, as women were not admitted into science departments. Gradually her abilities shone through enough for the more thoughtful souls to recruit her as a teacher and researcher in the mathematics department, though the pay and pensions package was decidedly exiguous. Our Wikipedia link [1] will tell you all you need to know about the profundity of her achievements. Suffice thereof these tiny quote from Wikipedia which shows how Emmy took the biscuit, intellectually speaking of course:

She discovered Noether’s theorem, which is fundamental in mathematical physics.[1] She was described by Pavel AlexandrovAlbert EinsteinJean DieudonnéHermann Weyl and Norbert Wiener as the most important woman in the history of mathematics.[2][3] As one of the leading mathematicians of her time, she developed some theories of ringsfields, and algebras. In physics, Noether’s theorem explains the connection between symmetry and conservation laws.

Not only was she a woman, she was Jewish. This combination of offences was enough to enrage the new Nazi Government of Germany who drove her from her post at Goettingen University. She fled to the United States and was welcomed at Bryn Mawr. Sadly she only lived for two more years, not enough to witness the downfall of the ignorant, murderous and misogynistic regime which had done her such harm.

Emmy’s legacy is greater than her work. For it shows like nothing else the fullest possible education of women is of imminent benefit to us all. And that those who oppose it, and their cheerers-on, are our most fundamental enemies.

#Islamic extremism #nazi #physics #mathematics #women #education for girls #science #


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