Home > Mathematician of the Week Archive Detail

<< Prev 4/24/2011 Next >>

The daughter of a country doctor in Illinois, I was home-schooled by my mother until age 15 when I enrolled at the University of Wisconsin.

At Wisconsin, I earned a B.S. with honors in mathematics and began teaching mathematics at Downer College in Fox Lake, Wisconsin.

But, I wanted to study more mathematics, so I enrolled at Bryn Mawr College to study under Charlotte Scott but left there to attend the University of Chicago....but was still not satisfied.

While attending the International Mathematical Congress in Evanston (IL), I met the mathematician Felix Klein, who invited me to study mathematics under him at the University of Göttingen...funded by a $500 scholarship from Christine Ladd-Franklin.

After earning a graduate degree (first American woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from a European university), I taught high school mathematics in St. Joseph (MO) and later was head (and only member) of the mathematics department at Kansas State Agriculture College in Manhattan (KS).

Though I essentially did no mathematics research after graduate school, I did publish a translation of the David Hilbert's lecture in 1900, where he outlined his famous list of twenty-three major mathematical problems for the 20th century.

A charter member of the Mathematical Association of America and President of the Kansas Association of Teachers of Mathematics, I was honored in 1941 at the Women's Centennial Congress as one of 100 outstanding women who held positions that were not open to women one hundred years earlier.

Answer: Mary Frances Winston Newson (1869 - 1959)