Sophie Germain, French mathematician

Sophie Germain, French mathematician

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Credit: GARY BROWN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Marie-Sophie Germain (1776-1831), French mathematician, number theorist and physicist. On the blackboard is a prime number expression for Fermat's Last Theorem that Germain raised in correspondence with Gauss. Germain overcame her lack of formal training and gender discrimination. Her work was particularly significant in number theory, including Fermat's Last Theorem, and the theory of elasticity. In 1816 she won the Grand Prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences, She was the first woman to attend the Academy of Sciences in her own right, and the first woman invited to attend sessions at the Institut de France.

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