HYPATIA, the first mathematician woman


by Joshua J. Mark
published on 02 September 2009

Hypatia of Alexandria (she invented the ASTROLABIUM)
 (c. 370 CE - March 415 CE) was a female philosopher and mathematician, born in Alexandria, Egypt possibly in 370 CE (although some scholars cite her birth as c. 350 CE). She was the  daughter of the mathematician Theon, the last Professor at the University of Alexandria, who tutored her in math, astronomy, and the philosophy of the day which, in modern times, would be considered science. Nothing is known of her mother and there is little information about her life. As the historian Deakin writes, "The most detailed accounts we have of Hypatia's life are the records of her death. We learn more about her death from the primary sources than we do about any other aspect of her life" (49). She was murdered in 415 CE by a Christian mob who attacked her on the streets of Alexandria. The primary sources, even those Christian writers who were hostile to her and claimed she was a witch, portray her as a woman who was widely known for her generosity, love of learning, and expertise in teaching in the subjects of Neo-Platonism, mathematics, science, and philosophy in general.