Maria Gaetana Agnesi – Italia (1718 – 1799)

Maria Gaetana Agnesi (May 16, 1718 – January 9, 1799) was an Italian linguist, mathematician, and philosopher. Agnesi (pronounced ‘Anyesi’) is credited with writing the first book discussing both differential and integral calculus. She was an honorary member of the faculty at the University of Bologna. According to Dirk Jan Struik, Agnesi is “the first important woman mathematician since Hypatia (fifth century A.D.)” … // … Instituzioni analitiche: First page of Instituzioni analitiche (1748) The most valuable result of her labours was the Instituzioni analitiche ad uso della gioventu italiana, a work of great merit, which was published at Milan in 1748 and “was regarded as the best introduction extant to the works of Leonhard Euler.” The first volume treats of the analysis of finite quantities and the second of the analysis of infinitesimals. A French translation of the second volume by P. T. d’Antelmy, with additions by Charles Bossut (1730-1814), appeared at Paris in 1775; and an English translation of the whole work by John Colson (1680-1760), the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, “inspected” by John Hellins, was published in 1801 at the expense of Baron Maseres … (full text).

Her bio also on; on NNDB; on Britannica online Encyclopedia; on Malaspina (book of physics and morality, a radical non-faith based spirituality); on MellenPress; on farlex; on allBusiness.

… This site is a collection of Agnesi miscellany built upon many exciting hours spent in some of the greatest libraries in the English speaking world.  We highly recommend that you pause to look at the Bibliography and Acknowledgments web sites to appreciate our far flung efforts to provide students with a tantalizing smattering of the strength of resources in mathematics … (full text, web site maintained by Shirley Gray, California State University, Los Angeles).

A CRATERS ON VENUS is named Agnesi.


Maria Gaetana Agnesi – Italia (1718 – 1799)

… The Canadian composer Elma Miller has written a work called “The Witch of Agnesi” for B flat clarinet, bass clarinet, horn, 2 percussion, viola and double bass. The work was commissioned by the Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects and was first performed in late October 1989 in Toronto. Despite its premier performance so near Halloween, the inspiration for the piece was the curve of Maria Agnesi … (full text).

Salvate dal web le italiane che hanno reso grande la scienza, 08 dicembre 2008.

… As a young girl MARIA GAETANA AGNESI was called a “Walking Polyglot” and the “Seven Tongued Orator.” At the age of nine she transcribed and delivered a discourse in Latin on the need for female education entitled, “Oratio qua ostenditur artium liberalium studia femineo sexu necitiquam abhorre.” She spoke Greek at 11 and Hebrew at 13 … (full text).

… In 1750, on the illness of her father, she was appointed by Pope Benedict XIV. to the chair of mathematics and natural philosophy at Bologna. After the death of her father in 1752 she carried out a long-cherished purpose by giving herself to the study of theology, and especially of the Fathers. After holding for some years the office
of directress of the Hospice Trivulzio for Blue Nuns at Milan, she herself joined the sisterhood, and in this austere order ended her days on the 9th of January 1799 … (full text).

Mathematikerinnen im 18. Jahrhundert: Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Gabrielle-Emilie DuChâtelet, Sophie Germain: Fallstudien zur Wechselwirkung von Wissenschaft … der Aufklärung.

Witch of Agnesi … Also on wikipedia … And hereafter: One of her solutions for an algebraic equation is still found in today’s textbooks. The solution follows a curve now called the “witch of Agnesi” not because she was thought to be a witch, but because the shape of the curve was called aversiera , which in Italian means to turn. The word is also a slang short form for the avversiere which means wife of the devil. A series of mistranslations over time finally set the name of curve to the “witch of Agnesi“. We now present the Living Witch of Agnesi. Watch the curve grow before your very eyes … (full text).

Find her and her publications on John Hopkins Univ. Press books; on ;
on amazon; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

… Maria Agnesi was known for being a child prodigy (called the “oracle of the seven tongues); by the time she was nine years old she knew many different languages and would give performances on her knowledge in a special room of her father’s home. She was very shy, but she wanted to please her father so she continued to show her talent to many others. Due to the time and the fact that she was a female, higher education for women was not practiced, so at the age of nine she published a Latin discourse defending education for women. This was done with the help of one of her tutors … (full text).

… Her father assembled the most learned men of Bologna at his house at stated intervals, and Maria explained and defended various philosophical theses. A contemporary, President de Brosses, in his “Lettres sur l’Italie” (I, 243), declares that conversation with the young girl was intensely interesting, as Maria was attractive in manner and richly endowed in mind. So far from becoming vain over her success, she was averse to these public displays of her phenomenal learning, and at twenty years of age desired to enter a convent. Although this desire was not gratified, the meetings were discontinued, and she led a life of retirement, in which she devoted herself especially to the study of mathematics. The 191 these which she defended were published in 1738, at Milan, under the title, “Propositiones Philosophicae” … (full text).

Her book: Instituzioni Analitiche.

She wrote: … I became the oldest of 21 children. My father was a very wealthy nobleman and is the professor of the University of Bologna. I was given privet tutors to learn five different language Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French and Spanish. But in addition to learning different languages I was also being taught philosophy and science. When I was about 13 my father forced me to give speeches in gatherings of his colleagues, I didn’t like this one bit. Every chance I got, I tried to pursued him not to let me do this but he never gave up until I turned 20. From all the speeches I gave I gained an idea of publishing my speeches into a book about the Philosophical Propositions. But to my surprise it was about more than just the philosophical propositions, it was about scientific celstial mechanics. Newtons gravitation theory, and elasticity. to my astonishment it would not be the last book I would write … (full text).

… During the Middle Ages, under the influence of Christendom, many European countries were opposed to any form of higher education for females. Women were mostly deprived from the fundamental elements of education, such as reading and writing, claiming that these were a source of temptation and sin. For the most part, learning was confined to monasteries and nunneries which constituted the only opportunity for education open to girls during the Middle Ages. After the fall of Constantinople (today Istanbul), many scholars migrated to Rome, bringing Europe knowledge and critical thinking, which in turn gave rise to the Renaissance. However, except in Italy, the status of women throughout Europe changed very slowly. In Italy, however, where the Renaissance had its origin, women made their mark on the academic world. Intellectual women were admired by men, they were never ridiculed for being intellectual and educated. This attitude enabled Italian women to participate in arts, medicine, literature, and mathematics. Among many others, Maria Gaetana Agnesi was by far the most important and extraordinary figure in mathematics during the 18th century … (full text).


Biographies of Women Mathematicians;

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Categories of wikipedia: Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Mathematicians from Italiy, 18th century mathematicians, Women mathematicians, Mathematicians.

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