Emmy Noether may not be a household name, but her compatriot Albert Einstein — someone who definitely is — once called her “the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began.”
Noether, born in a small town in Germany in 1882, would have been 133 on Monday, and Google is celebrating her life with a doodle. She is credited with revolutionizing the fields of mathematics and physics with her theory of noncommutative algebras, where answers are determined by the order in which numbers are multiplied.
After finishing her dissertation in 1907, Noether worked without pay at the university in her hometown of Erlangen for seven years, since women were not allowed to hold academic positions at the time. Her next post at the University of Göttingen was also denied official recognition for four years until 1919, because of objections from the institution’s staff. She moved to Pennsylvania’s Bryn Mawr College in 1933 after Nazi Germany dismissed Jews from university positions, and died there two years later.
“I thought it would be best to highlight the mathematician’s numerous accomplishments and shine a light on the influence Noether had on the world,” wrote Sophie Diao, the doodle’s artist.