January 01, 2005

Calendar Items in Brief

January 3, 1850

Today is the birthday of Sofia Kovalevskaya, an extraordinary woman who was not only a great mathematician, but also a writer and 19th century advocate of women’s rights. She struggled to obtain the best education available for herself (much of which had to be abroad), and, in doing this, began to open doors at universities for other women. As well, her work in mathematics made her male counterparts reconsider their notions of female inferiority. She was the first woman admitted to the Imperial Academy of Sciences (which was ironic, because the State had refused to give her a position at the university).


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