Saturday, May 14, 2022

International Women in Mathematics Day and Maria Gaetana Agnesi's Birthday

Monday, May 16, 2022 will be the 304th anniversary of the birth of Maria Gaetana Agnesi. I'm posting a couple of days early because I just learned of another, related, celebration that I missed two days ago on May 12: International Women in Mathematics Day

According to this article, the date of May 12 was chosen in 2018:

". . . in honor of Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, born on May 12, 1977, and the first woman to win a Fields Medal, the highest award given by the international mathematical community." 

    Maryam Mirzakhani photo by Maryeraud9, Creative Commons use allowed
Sadly, Maryam Mirzakhani died in 2017 at age 40. She is included in this article listing 14 "Amazing Women in Mathematics."  Maria Gaetana Agnesi is also on the list. I find it interesting that these two women shared May birthdays along with their love of math.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Sharing Another Monument to Maria on International Women's Day

On May 16, 2017, the 300th anniversary of Maria Gaetana Agnesi's birth, she was featured as the "Scientist of the Day" on the Linda Hall Library website. The article, which was written by Dr. William B. Ashworth, Jr., Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Missouri-Kansas City, includes several interesting photos related to Maria and her life. The final photo is a bust of Maria that is featured on the side of Milan's Palazzo Brentani:

Maria Gaetana Agnesi. Detail from the series of decorative busts (portraying "distinguished Italians") on the facade Palazzo Brentani, in via Manzoni street at Milan. Picture by Giovanni Dall'Orto, April 14 2007.

Here's Professor Ashworth's description of the bust:

"The Palazzo Brentani in Milan has a series of 18 portrait plaques that circle the exterior, celebrating important citizens of Milan. Front and foremost, right over the entrance, is Leonardo da Vinci ... , but in the second-best spot, just to the viewer’s left of Leonardo, is a plaque for Agnesi ...."

I'm highlighting the image here today in honor of International Women's Day and Women's History Month. This is the perfect time to remember Maria Gaetana Agnesi and all the other unsung women of history.  

For additional photos of Palazzo Brentani, see this page in Wikimedia Commons.