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Biography: 1850–1874

  • Roger Cooke

Abstract

Sophia Vasilievna Kovalevskaya (1850–1891), whose mathematical works will be analyzed in the chapters which follow, is becoming increasingly well known as an early woman of achievement. As the feminist movement inspired a new look at history and an attempt to appreciate the formerly neglected contributions of women to all aspects of culture, Kovalevskaya was inevitably recognized as one of the first women to make contributions of high quality to mathematics, which even today is predominantly a “male” subject. The result of this increased interest is a number of recent articles and books on Kovalevskaya which tell of various aspects of her life and character. At the same time certain questions of psychology and sociology have arisen on which no consensus has yet been reached. For example, are there innate differences between men and women which cause women to gravitate toward literary activity and men toward quantitative activity? Will women constitute a sizeable portion of our scientists in the near future? Kovalevskaya has become part of the debate, as various claims have been made for her and attempts have been made to evaluate her many activities. Although this book is primarily an attempt to understand Kovalevskaya’s contributions to mathematics, it may perhaps contribute to the discussion by recounting her work accurately in the context of the history of mathematics.

Keywords

Abelian Integral Riemann Mapping Theorem Military Career Polish Border Quantitative Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Cooke
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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