Sophie Germain Quotes

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But do I need to say anything?" Sophie asked. "Do I need to learn any words?" "Like what?" Saint-Germain said. "Well, when you lit up the Eiffel tower, you said something that sounded like eggness." "Ignis," the count said. "Latin for fire. No, you don't need to say anything." "Then why did you do it, then?" Sophie asked. Saint-Germain grinned. "I just thought it sounded cool.
Michael Scott (The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #2))
Sophie Germain proved to the world that even a woman can accomplish something in the most rigorous and abstract of sciences and for that reason would well have deserved an honorary degree.
Carl Friedrich Gauß
In describing the honourable mission I charged him with, M. Pernety informed me that he made my name known to you. This leads me to confess that I am not as completely unknown to you as you might believe, but that fearing the ridicule attached to a female scientist, I have previously taken the name of M. LeBlanc in communicating to you those notes that, no doubt, do not deserve the indulgence with which you have responded. {Explaining her use of a male pseudonym in a letter to Carl Friedrich Gauss, 1807}
Sophie Germain
Young people need looking after,” she said. “Think of that beautiful boy Galois. People felt there was something secret in his character. They were right. The secret was mathematics. His father a suicide. His own death a horrible farce. Dawn in the fields. Caped and whiskered seconds. Sinister marksman poised to fire.” I need all my courage to die at twenty. “Then there was Abel, not much older, desperately poor, Abel in delirium, hemorrhaging. So often mathematical experience consists of time segments too massive to be contained in the usual frame. Lives overstated. Themes pursued to extreme points. Adventure, romance and tragedy.” I will fight for my life. “Look at Pascal, who rid himself of physical pain by dwelling on mathematics. He was just a bit older than you when he constructed his mystic hexagram. The loveliest aspect of the mystic hexagram is that it is mystic. That’s what’s so lovely about it. It’s able to become its own shadow.” Keep believing it. “The tricky thing about mathematical genius,” she said, “is that its sources are so often buried. Galois for one. Ramanujan for another. No indication anywhere in their backgrounds that these boys would one day display such natural powers. Figures jumping out of sequence. Or completely misplaced.” (...) “Numbers have supernatural harmonies, according to Hermite. They exist beyond human thought. Divine order through number. Number as absolute reality. Someone said of Hermite: ‘The most abstract entities are for him like living creatures.’ That’s what someone said.” “People invented numbers,” he said. “You don’t have numbers without people.” “Good, let’s argue.” “I don’t want to argue.” “Secret lives,” she said. “Dedekind listed as dead twelve years before the fact. Poncelet scratching calculations on the walls of his cell. Lobachevski mopping the floors of an old museum. Sophie Germain using a man’s name. Do I have the order right? Sometimes I get it mixed up or completely backwards. (...) “Tell me about your mathematical dreams.” “Never had one.” “Cardano did, born half dead, his inner life a neon web of treachery and magic. Gambler, astrologer, heretic, court physician. Schemed his way through the algebra wars.” “Can I see the baby?” “Ramanujan had algebraic dreams. Wrote down the results after getting out of bed. Vast intuitive powers but poor education. Taken to Cambridge like a jungle boy. Sonja Kowalewski wasn’t allowed to attend university lectures. We both know why. When her husband died she spent days and days without food, coming out of her room only after she’d restored herself by working on her mathematics. Tell me, was it Kronecker who thought mathematics similar to poetry? I know Hamilton and many others tried their hands at verse. Our superduper Sonja preferred the novel.
Don DeLillo (Ratner's Star)
Sophie Germain had taught herself calculus at a young age. The daughter of a wealthy family, she had become entranced by mathematics after reading a book about Archimedes in her father’s library. When her parents found out that she loved mathematics and was staying up late at night to work on it, they took away her candles, left her fire unlit, and confiscated her nightgowns. Sophie persisted. She wrapped herself in quilts and worked by the light of stolen candles. Eventually her family relented and gave her their blessing. Germain, like all women of her era, was not permitted to attend university, so she continued to teach herself, in some cases by obtaining lecture notes from the courses at the nearby École Polytechnique using the name Monsieur Antoine-August Le Blanc, a student who had left the school. Unaware of his departure, academy administrators continued to print lecture notes and problem sets for him. She submitted work under his name until one of the school’s teachers, the great Lagrange, noticed the remarkable improvement in Monsieur Le Blanc’s previously abysmal performance. Lagrange requested a meeting with Le Blanc and was delighted and astonished to discover her true identity.
Steven H. Strogatz (Infinite Powers: The Story of Calculus - The Language of the Universe)
Aramis = Peter Harratt (also Henri Lassot) Artus & Auguste = Henry and Alfred Newton Bishop = Abbé Robert Alesch (also René Martin) Bob = Raoul Le Boulicaut Carte = André Girard Célestin = Brian Stonehouse Christophe = Gilbert Turck Constantin = Jean de Vomécourt Fontcroise = Captain Henri Charles Giese Georges = Georges Bégué Gévolde = Serge Kapalski Gloria = Gabrielle Picabia Lucas = Pierre de Vomécourt (also Sylvain) Marie = Virginia Hall (also Germaine, Philomène, Nicolas, Diane, Diana, Marcelle, Brigitte, Isabelle, Camille, DFV, Artemis) Nicolas = Robert Boiteux (also known as Robert Burdett) Olive = Francis Basin Pépin = Dr Jean Rousset René = Victor Gerson (also Vic) Sophie = Odette Wilen Victoire = Mathilde Carré (or La Chatte)
Sonia Purnell (A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II)