Through these blog posts, I have written about a variety of topics revolving in some way, shape, or form around math. Whether it be a book review, a personal story, or an in-class program, I have shared some insight on what mathematics means to me. Today, I want to discuss what mathematics meant to another woman, one considered a "revolutionary mathematician."
pursued her mathematical studies.
Before we dive into those studies, lets take a look into Germain's upbringing. Sophie Germain was a home-body. She was known as being with-drawn as a child, and while her siblings went off and got married in time, Sophie Germain remained single and lived at home all her life. Because of her shy characteristics, Germain spent countless hours growing up reading, one of her favorite authors being Archimedes. At the age of thirteen, she was fascinated by his mathematical findings and the fact that he lived a life "untouched by the confusion of reality." Unfortunately, Germain's parents were not encouraged by the with-drawn behavior, especially the fact that most of her time was spent studying...
She studied mathematics on her own, and Libri relates that her parents were so opposed to her behavior that she took to studying at night. They responded by leaving her fire unlit and taking her candles. Sophie studied anyway, swaddled in blankets, by the light of smuggled candles.
Clearly the devotion started at a young age and continued on as she continued to explore a variety of "current" mathematicians during that time. She spent time exploring number theory for a while corresponding with the well-known mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gauss. She created an open way of communication sending him her ideas surrounding number theory. "He was thrilled to find that his "pen pal" was a very gifted woman," however after Gauss moved on from number theory, Germain was left in need of another mentor. From number theory, Sophie Germain went on to study applied mathematics. Germain spent years working on a project that offered some aspect of competition. Germain was not granted success right away, but rather had to fail many times before finally taking the win. Once again, her commitment and devotion to the realm of mathematics is admirable.
Sadly, the life of Sophie Germain was cut short at the age of 55 after a long, hard battle of breast cancer. Unfortunately, a lot of Germain's work was not recognized when she was still in the land of the living. However, her legacy continues to live for her development in the world of mathematics and her work ethic.
how can we learn from sophie Germain?
Sophie Germain had passion, had commitment. She wasn't going to let anything stop her from pursuing what she wanted. While my passion may lie in the realm of mathematics, my other passion lies within a classroom of students. I can learn from Germain's commitment. My commitment will be to my students. I will not let anything stop me from accomplishing my goals as their teacher. Just like I admire the strength, commitment, and passion of Sophie Germain fuel my own desires, I hope that my students will look and see the same in me, their teacher, and strive for success in their own dreams, whatever they may be.
My name is Abby Niemiec and I am in the midst of my final year as a undergraduate student at Grand Valley State University. I am a double major in Mathematics and Education, with my minor focusing on Elementary Education. Within this blog, I will be sharing mathematical ideas, perspectives, thoughts and much more! Stay tuned...and enjoy the read!