Emmy Noether is a mathematical genius that did much for mathematics, but also furthered the advancement of women. She had to break down many different barriers in order to get the recognition and respect that she deserved. It seems as though Emmy Noether was always destined for mathematical superiority, but her path to success was not easy. When Albert Einstein characterizes you as a genius, you know that you have an intellect that is superior. Before you evaluate the achievements of Emmy Noether, it is important to understand what her major accomplishments actually were and how they carried further than just mathematics. Here are some of the major accomplishments of Emmy Noether.
1. Changed the Thinking of Math
The main accomplishment that Emmy Noether achieved during her lifetime was transforming the way that people thought about math. Not just the way that ordinary people think about math, but the way in which mathematicians approached the subject of mathematics as a whole. She altered everything for everyone in a time period when women were actually viewed as inferior. Emmy was a proponent of breaking things down into their simplest form. She thought that the best way to understand math was to think about it in simple and general terms.
Many mathematicians at the time were making everything more complicated with various equations and calculations, but Emmy approached everything in its most basic form. She thought that simpler was better. This had a huge impact on the mathematicians approached the subject. Mathematics seemed to undergo so much advancement during her time period due to the way that she thought. She was able to clear the path to new thinking in a way that was impossible before her.
Another one of the achievements of Emmy was her ability to persevere and not back down from any obstacle. There was a time period when she was actually unable to teach under her own name at German Universities. Even when she was prevented from lecturing by the Nazis, Emmy always remained in control and never let her spirit of passion for knowledge get broken. She was forced out of Germany, but this only led her to find a new University to teach at. She never let any obstacle stand in her way.
3. Abstract Algebra
The biggest contributions to the world of mathematics that Emmy made were to abstract algebra. At the time when she began working on these type of theories they were viewed as very different and were even seen as some to be controversial. She was actually not allowed to work at a number of universities simply because she was a woman, This means that she had to pursue her knowledge in new ways. The biggest debate involving the mathematical theories that Emmy was testing had to do with the thinking of if her work should be seen as conceptual or abstract. There were some that believed her work being viewed as conceptual could be harmful for mathematics as a whole. Even though there was controversy swirling around the work that she was doing, Emmy never let this hold her back in any way. Her work in algebra actually led her to unify different types of math. This includes finding commonality between algebra, geometry and logic. Those that could use the theories that she proved were physicists and crystallographers.
4. Lecture and Prestigious Award in Mathematics
As a woman in this field she had to work even harder to get recognized. In 1928 she was asked by the International Mathematical Congress in Zurich to give a lecture on the topic of abstract algebra. It was in the same year that she was also bestowed the honor of getting the most prestigious award in the field of mathematics. She was recognized as the Ackermann-Teubner Memorial Prize winner, which is the biggest honor that you can receive in mathematics. This was when Emmy finally stopped being viewed as a female mathematician and finally seemed to get recognition for just being one of the very best mathematicians in the world. She no longer was held back by her sex.
5. Surpassed Father
It is always a goal to achieve success that makes your family proud. When Emmy was growing up and pursuing a career in mathematics, she was regarded as Max Noether’s daughter. Max was an accomplished professor at the University of Erlangen. However, by the time that Emmy started to get recognition for her achievements in mathematics Max was actually more known for simply being Emmy’s father. Emmy held this as a huge honor and it is something that made her incredibly proud.
Emmy Noether is one of the people that is often credited with furthering mathematics, but she also did a lot for women. She showed that no matter what sex you are, it should not define you and does not have to be something that holds you back in any way.