Emmy Noether was mathematician who was influential in abstract algebra and theoretical physics, and now she is being honored with a Google doodle.
Artist Sophie Diao created the doodle that commemorates the work of this largely-forgotten mathematical genius.
Each character in the doodle represents one branch of physics or math to which Noether made a significant contribution. These include topology, an advanced form of geometry, ascending and descending chains, Noetherian rings, time, group theory, conservation of angular momentum, and continuous symmetries.
"When I first started tackling this doodle, I originally drew several concepts attempting to visualize Noether's Theorem due to it's revolutionary impact on the way people approach physics. But after discussing my ideas with a few professionals in the field, I decided that the doodle should include references to her mathematical work, too," Diao said.
Here are seven little-known facts about the researcher.
1) Born in Erlangen, Germany, on March 23, 1882, Noether specialized in noncommutative algebra, equations in which the answer is partly dependent on the order in which factors are multiplied. Many people are unaware this field exists, but she was a pioneer.
2) Her father, Max Noether, was also a mathematician, who taught at the University of Erlangen, and she often taught classes for him.
3) When Noether earned her doctorate in 1907, it was at a time when women in Germany were not allowed to teach at the university level. Therefore, she worked without pay for seven years in Erlangen, where she was one of just two women on the staff.
4) She then moved to the University of Göttingen, but was denied official recognition there for four years due to her gender. When the Nazi Party took power in Germany, Jews were forbidden from teaching at colleges, and Noether pulled up roots and moved to the United States in 1933, where she taught at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. This made her part of a mass exodus of Jewish people from the nation.
5) Noether's theorem states that any system that possesses a differentiable symmetry (a continuous function) has a corresponding law of conservation. The idea was first proven by Noether in 1915, and was published in 1918.
6) Many historians divide Noether's work into three epochs of discoveries. The first of these, which lasted from 1908 to 1919, is marked by her work in number fields and algebraic invariants. It was during this period that she developed the theorem for which she is best known. The second era of her work, focused on abstract algebra, lasted from 1920 to 1926. Noncommutative algebra and hypercomplex numbers were at the center of her third epoch, which began in 1927, lasting for eight years.
7) Albert Einstein once described Noether as "the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began."
Noether died in Pennsylvania on April 14, 1935. She would have been 133 years old this year.