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Maria Agnesi, the greatest female mathematician you’ve never heard of

The outmoded gender stereotype that women lack mathematical ability suffered a major blow in 2014, when Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman to receive the Fields Medal, math’s most prestigious award.

An equally important blow was struck by an Italian mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi, born 300 years ago this month.

Books 1a old LLLLAgnesi was the first woman to write a mathematics textbook and to be appointed to a university chair in math, yet her life was marked by paradox.

Though brilliant, rich and famous, she eventually opted for a life of poverty and…

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