To do mathematics is hard enough, to do it well even harder, but to do it better than most and be discriminated against by a phalanx of morons for decades takes a special kind of toughness and mental acuity. Today we honor Amalie Emmy Noether, one of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century.

Emmy Noether fought persistent sexism to obtain a Ph.D in 1907 even though she was not allowed to take classes, nor draw a paycheck when she taught classes after her doctorate. Being Jewish she eventually fled the rising drumbeat of Nazism and arrived at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania in 1933. Tragically she died shortly after following medical complications. She was only 53.

Among her many accomplishments include significant contributions to algebraic invariants and number fields. A class of algebraic objects — Noetherian rings — are named after her. Her work on differential invariants in the calculus of variations leading to Noether’s theorem has been called, “one of the most important mathematical theorems ever proved in the development of modern physics”. You can find out more about her on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmy_Noether

Her many champions included Albert Einstein and David Hilbert. Today Google honors Emmy Noether with a doodle. Go check it out!