Amelia Emmy Noether (1882 - 1935)

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Birthplace: Erlangen, Middle Franconia, Bavaria, Germany
Death: Died in Bryn Mawr, PA
Cause of death: Pelvic tumor
Managed by: Idi Neter
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About Amelia Emmy Noether

Wikipedia Biographical Summary:

"...Amalie Emmy Noether (German: [ˈnøːtɐ]; 23 March 1882 – 14 April 1935) was an influential German mathematician known for her groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. Described by David Hilbert, Albert Einstein and others as the most important woman in the history of mathematics, she revolutionized the theories of rings, fields, and algebras. In physics, Noether's theorem explains the fundamental connection between symmetry and conservation laws.

She was born to a Jewish family in the Bavarian town of Erlangen; her father was the mathematician Max Noether. Emmy originally planned to teach French and English after passing the required examinations, but instead studied mathematics at the University of Erlangen, where her father lectured. After completing her dissertation in 1907 under the supervision of Paul Gordan, she worked at the Mathematical Institute of Erlangen without pay for seven years (at the time women were largely excluded from academic positions). In 1915, she was invited by David Hilbert and Felix Klein to join the mathematics department at the University of Göttingen, a world-renowned center of mathematical research. The philosophical faculty objected, however, and she spent four years lecturing under Hilbert's name. Her habilitation was approved in 1919, allowing her to obtain the rank of Privatdozent. Noether remained a leading member of the Göttingen mathematics department until 1933; her students were sometimes called the "Noether boys". In 1924, Dutch mathematician B. L. van der Waerden joined her circle and soon became the leading expositor of Noether's ideas: her work was the foundation for the second volume of his influential 1931 textbook, Moderne Algebra. By the time of her plenary address at the 1932 International Congress of Mathematicians in Zürich, her algebraic acumen was recognized around the world. The following year, Germany's Nazi government dismissed Jews from university positions, and Noether moved to the United States to take up a position at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. In 1935 she underwent surgery for an ovarian cyst and, despite signs of a recovery, died four days later at the age of 53.

Noether's mathematical work has been divided into three "epochs".] In the first (1908–1919), she made significant contributions to the theories of algebraic invariants and number fields. Her work on differential invariants in the calculus of variations, Noether's theorem, has been called "one of the most important mathematical theorems ever proved in guiding the development of modern physics". In the second epoch, (1920–1926), she began work that "changed the face of [abstract] algebra". In her classic paper Idealtheorie in Ringbereichen (Theory of Ideals in Ring Domains, 1921) Noether developed the theory of ideals in commutative rings into a powerful tool with wide-ranging applications. She made elegant use of the ascending chain condition, and objects satisfying it are named Noetherian in her honor. In the third epoch, (1927–1935), she published major works on noncommutative algebras and hypercomplex numbers and united the representation theory of groups with the theory of modules and ideals. In addition to her own publications, Noether was generous with her ideas and is credited with several lines of research published by other mathematicians, even in fields far removed from her main work, such as algebraic topology..."

"...Emmy's father, Max Noether, was descended from a family of wholesale traders in Germany. He had been paralyzed by poliomyelitis at the age of fourteen. He regained mobility, but one leg remained affected. Largely self-taught, he was awarded a doctorate from the University of Heidelberg in 1868. After teaching there for seven years, he took a position in the Bavarian city of Erlangen, where he met and married Ida Amalia Kaufmann, the daughter of a prosperous merchant. Max Noether's mathematical contributions were to algebraic geometry mainly, following in the footsteps of Alfred Clebsch. His best known results are the Brill–Noether theorem and the residue, or AF+BG theorem; several other theorems are associated with him, including Max Noether's theorem.

Emmy Noether was born on 23 March 1882, the first of four children. Her first name was "Amalie", after her mother and paternal grandmother, but she began using her middle name at a young age. As a girl, she was well liked. She did not stand out academically although she was known for being clever and friendly. Emmy was near-sighted and talked with a minor lisp during childhood. A family friend recounted a story years later about young Emmy quickly solving a brain teaser at a children's party, showing logical acumen at that early age. Emmy was taught to cook and clean, as were most girls of the time, and she took piano lessons. She pursued none of these activities with passion, although she loved to dance.

She had three younger brothers. The eldest, Alfred, was born in 1883, was awarded a doctorate in chemistry from Erlangen in 1909, but died nine years later. Fritz Noether, born in 1884, is remembered for his academic accomplishments: after studying in Munich he made a reputation for himself in applied mathematics. The youngest, Gustav Robert, was born in 1889. Very little is known about his life; he suffered from chronic illness and died in 1928..."

"...Although Noether's theorem had a profound effect upon physics, among mathematicians she is best remembered for her seminal contributions to abstract algebra. As Nathan Jacobson says in his Introduction to Noether's Collected Papers

The development of abstract algebra, which is one of the most distinctive innovations of twentieth century mathematics, is largely due to her – in published papers, in lectures, and in personal influence on her contemporaries..."

"...When Adolf Hitler became the German Reichskanzler in January 1933, Nazi activity around the country increased dramatically. At the University of Göttingen the German Student Association led the attack on the "un-German spirit" attributed to Jews and was aided by a privatdozent named Werner Weber, a former student of Emmy Noether. Antisemitic attitudes created a climate hostile to Jewish professors. One young protester reportedly demanded: "Aryan students want Aryan mathematics and not Jewish mathematics."..."

"...As dozens of newly unemployed professors began searching for positions outside of Germany, their colleagues in the United States sought to provide assistance and job opportunities for them. Albert Einstein and Hermann Weyl were appointed by the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, while others worked to find a sponsor required for legal immigration. Noether was contacted by representatives of two educational institutions, Bryn Mawr College in the United States and Somerville College at the University of Oxford in England. After a series of negotiations with the Rockefeller Foundation, a grant to Bryn Mawr was approved for Noether and she took a position there, starting in late 1933..."

"...Noether's work continues to be relevant for the development of theoretical physics and mathematics and she consistently is ranked as one of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century. In his obituary, fellow algebraist B. L. van der Waerden says that her mathematical originality was "absolute beyond comparison",] and Hermann Weyl said that Noether "changed the face of algebra by her work". During her lifetime and even until today, Noether has been characterized as the greatest woman mathematician in recorded history by mathematicians such as Pavel Alexandrov, Hermann Weyl, and Jean Dieudonné.

In a letter to The New York Times, Albert Einstein wrote:

In the judgment of the most competent living mathematicians, Fräulein Noether was the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began. 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..."

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'Emmy Noether', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 6 February 2012, 07:49 UTC, <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Emmy_Noether&oldid=475358460> [accessed 13 February 2012]

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Emmy Noether's Timeline

1882
March 23, 1882
Erlangen, Middle Franconia, Bavaria, Germany
1935
April 14, 1935
Age 53
Bryn Mawr, PA
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