Women in the 18th Century

Topics: Mathematics, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Fermat's Last Theorem Pages: 4 (1592 words) Published: November 28, 2005
There were very little opportunities for women in education in the eighteen century. "Women were considered to be incapable of abstraction, generalization, or the mental concentration necessary to comprehend such subjects as mathematics and the physical sciences,…"(Osen pg51). There have been women who have made significant contributions to the mathematical and science world.

The first of the five women in the eighteen century is Emilie du Chatelet. She was born on December 17, 1706. Her father, Louis Nicholas le Tonnelier, saw that she was a genius and gave her the opportunity to study many different subjects. Her true passion was math. She married at the age of nineteen to a thirty-four-year-old, Marquis du Chatelet. Her husband was the colonel of a regiment, head of an old Lorraine family. She loves the liberty of enjoying privileges that were re-served for duchesses. Her husband did not like the fact that she would not give up her passion of math. She had an affair with Voltaire, one of most intriguing and brilliant scholars of this time. They soon after the affair moved to Paris for Cirey. Cirey-sur-Blaise is the ancestral home of the du Chatelet family. It was there where she studied with Leibniz. She wrote a book called Institutions de physique, from her studies with Leibniz (Emilie). She then moved on to Newton. Algebraical Commentary was added to Newton's' book of principles of the mathematics. She also rewrote the book in French. She then studied under Pierre Louis de Maupertuis, a leading mathematicians and astronomers of the day. Maupertuis and Voltaire tried to get the French to move away from the Descartes and towards the ideas of Newton. The only problem with them moving to the new idea is that Newton's work was not in French so the French couldn't understand the new idea. Emilie was influenced to translate Newton's work of the Principia into French. She had also written a new textbook on physics. She introduced physics...
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