Who is Sonia Kovalevsky?

Sonia Kovalevsky (Sofia Kovalevskaya) is a famous mathematician and scientist who was born in Moscow in 1850. She displayed an aptitude for mathematics while still a young girl but her interest in formal study was discouraged by her father. She married and moved to Germany to study, but was obliged to be tutored privately since universities would not allow women to attend. She was, however, granted her doctorate, summa cum laude, from Göttingen University in 1874, having completed three papers, one of which was a remarkable contribution to the subject of partial differential equations. Despite her gifts, she was unable to obtain an academic position for many years. She went on to become a respected figure in the European scientific community, lecturing in Stockholm, editing a new journal, organizing international conferences and winning prizes from the French and Swedish Academies of Science for her important work on the study of rigid bodies. She died of influenza in 1891, at the peak of her career, in which she published ten papers in mathematics and mathematical physics and also several literary works.


Mathematics Department

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