Her-story Thursdays: Hypatia


We're gonna start of Her-story Thursdays with a little known figure in the STEM field, Hypatia. Hypatia lived from around circa 370 AD to 415 AD in Alexandria, Egypt. Though her birth year is relatively unkown as some historians suggest she was born in 355 AD and not 370. Hypatia's father, Theon, was a mathematics professor at the school of  Alexandria and by all accounts, he raised his daughter to be curious and have a passion for finding the answers to the unknown. Later on in her life, Hypatia became a well known mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and teacher, though her work in mathematics is most well known. Her work editing the book On the Conics of Apollonius, made the concepts of hyperbolas, ellipses, and parabolas easier to understand. She was the first women to make such a huge impact in the STEM fields.

Tragically, Hypatia was mobbed to death in 415 AD during the rise of Christianity in Egypt. But her work was expanded on by Leibniz, Newton, and Descartes. Philosophers still consider her to be a great philosopher and teacher of her own during her lifetime.

Hypatia is considered one of the first known women in the STEM fields, and had a huge impact on how mathematics was studied years later, though none of her original works have survived. She taught many students while she lived, including the Bishop of Ptolemais.