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An illustration of Emmy Noether

SciShorts: Emmy Noether – the Unsung Mathematician

Amalie Emmy Noether is a name that is almost unheard of. Conversely, the contributions of this German mathematician is more than prominent. She is known for Noether’s theorem, which united symmetry in nature and conservation laws in physics. This theorem is the foundation of many areas of theoretical physics and was monumental in the hunt for the Higgs Boson. As a result of her many works in higher algebra, she was referred to by Albert Einstein as the “most significant and creative mathematician” of all time.

Emmy Noether had faced a great deal of gender discrimination – universities under the Nazi rule did not allow her to teach, since she was a woman. A faculty member had commented once, What will our soldiers think when they return to the university and find that they are required to learn at the feet of a woman?” This, however, did not stop Noether from teaching or from becoming one of the greatest mathematicians the world has ever known.