Google Honors 20th Century Math Genius Emmy Noether

WDnetStudio / Pixabay

Google is celebrating amazing Bavarian math genius Emmy Noether on Wednesday, March 23rd, the 133th anniversary of her birthday, with an intellectually and visually engaging illustration by talented doodle artist Sophie Diao.

Emmy Noether was so brilliant that mathematician and theoretical physicist Albert Einstein wrote on her death at the relatively young age of 53: “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.”

Diao on her Emmy Noether doodles

Doodle artist Sophie Diao comments on her artwork: “There weren’t any obstacles that would stop Noether from her studies. In this doodle, each circle symbolizes a branch of math or physics that Noether devoted her illustrious career to. From left to right, you can see topology (the donut and coffee mug), ascending/descending chains, Noetherian rings (represented in the doodle by the Lasker-Noether theorem), time, group theory, conservation of angular momentum, and continuous symmetries — and the list keeps going on and on from there! Noether’s advancements not only reflect her brilliance but also her determination in the face of adversity.”

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More on Emmy Noether

Noether studied French and English in high school in Erlangen, but she eventually followed her father Max and a brother Fritz into mathematics, where she discovered her life’s work. But at the German universities of the time, Noether could only audit classes because she was not male.

After a long struggle, Noether did eventually receive her mathematics doctorate in 1907, but from 1908 to 1915, she worked at the Mathematical Institute of Erlangen with no pay.

It was during this time, though, that she began working on theoretical algebra (her poetry of the possible and beyond) that would lead to her acclaim as a math genius.

Her brilliance finally recognized after the First World War, Noether worked to educate the next generation of great math minds. But a few years later, Hitler’s Nazi government began kicking Jewish academics out of their university teaching positions. Noether emigrated to the U.S. for her her safety n 1933. In his letter, Einstein noted that her two years at Pennsylvania’s Bryn Mawr were “the happiest and perhaps the most fruitful of her entire career.”

Unfortunately, Amalie Emmy Noether, a passionate pacifist with a one-of-a-kind knack for understanding numerical relationships, died at age 53 after surgery to remove a cyst.