Maria Agnesi

Honored by:The Mathematics Department
Brick location:PAVER:22  map

Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799) was born and died in the city of Milan, Italy. She was a child prodigy who, at age 9, published a Latin argument defending higher education for women. She is mainly remembered for her work in differential calculus. Her book "Instituzioni Analitiche ad uso della gioventu italiana" (Foundations of analysis for the Use of Italian Youth) was published in 1748. It dealt with the concepts of calculus and received much attention. In 1750 she became the first woman to occupy a chair of mathematics at the University of Bologna. She is associated with a famous curve in the plane now called the "Witch of Agnesi" in her honor given by the formula y = a3 / (X2 + a2). After her father's death in 1752, she devoted herself to religious studies and charity. A copy of the rare two-volume Instituzioni Analitiche was selected to be the two millionth volume for the ISU Library in 1994; it was purchased with a $20000 gift from Evelyn Weber. 7/1/96

Paver Inscription:

Maria Agnesi
Sophie Germain
S. Kowalewsky
Emmy Noether"