
 



The history of mathematics spans thousands of years and touches all parts of the world. Likewise, the notable mathematicians of the past and present are equally diverse. The following are brief biographies of three mathematicians who stand out for their contributions to the fields of geometry and calculus. Hypatia of Alexandria
(c. A.D. 370415 ) Although little of Hypatia's own work survives, one of her pupils, Synesius of Cyrene, wrote numerous letters documenting Hypatia's contributions. Hypatia lectured in Alexandria on Plato, Aristotle, and other philosophers, and wrote student editions (known as commentaries) of classic works by Euclid, Diophantus, Apollonius, and Ptolemy. There is some evidence that she even wrote a commentary on Archimedes' Dimension of the Circle. Like many great philosophers of the time, Hypatia became involved in a political power struggle, which led to her murder in A.D. 415 by an angry mob. Learning More Hypatia of Alexandria. Biographies of Women Mathematicians Bhaskara
(A.D. 11141185) Bhaskara wrote numerous papers and books on such topics as plane and spherical trigonometry, algebra, and the mathematics of planetary motion. His most famous work, Siddhanta Siromani, was written in A.D. 1150. It is divided into four parts: "Lilavati" (arithmetic), "Bijaganita" (algebra), "Goladhyaya" (celestial globe), and "Grahaganita" (mathematics of the planets). Like Archimedes, Bhaskara discovered several principles of what is now calculus centuries before it was invented. Also like Archimedes, Bhaskara was fascinated by the concepts of infinity and square roots. Learning More Lilavati of Bhaskaracharya. Bhaskara J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr.
(1923) Since that time, he has had a remarkable career as a mathematician, teacher, physicist, and engineer. Although he has written more than 80 mathematical papers on such subjects as calculus and geometry, his primary focus since the mid1940s has been the study and development of atomic power. Today, Dr. Wilkins lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he is currently working as Distinguished Professor of Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Physics at Clark Atlanta University. Learning More African Americans in Mathematics: Dimacs Workshop June 2628, 1996. The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences 




