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Emmy Noether was one of the most important mathematicians of the 20th Century. Noether’s (first) theorem, which states that for every symmetry in a system there is a corresponding conservation law, is fundamental to modern theoretical physics, and she was one of the first to study topology algebraically.
Like many German Jewish academics, Noether left Germany after the Nazi party came into power, and spent much of her life in the US. Noether could not get a paid job for most of her life due to sexism. She worked for free at various universities while living frugally on an allowance paid to her by her family, and even later in life when she earned a salary she continued to live a frugal lifestyle. As a teacher she was known both for her insistence on strict mathematical rigour, and for her attentive and nurturing attitude towards her students. She was also known for being completely unconcerned about her appearance, sometimes lecturing in food-stained clothing, or with messy hair (not unlike her friend and colleague Albert Einstein.)
Wikipedia: Emmy Noether
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