Emmy Noether

I could cook and clean

But I did not love to

My love was math

I solved logical puzzles in minutes

At childhood parties

My mathematician father’s genes.

I could have taught French and English

But I chose to study more math

Although I could only audit classes

Rather than be full students

We were two women among a near thousand

In later years I thought my thesis and other papers were


I taught without pay for sixteen years

Wrote papers on abstract algebra

Exchanged postcards about math

With fellow mathematicians

When I talked math

I spilled food

My hair went all over the place

My students tried to chide me

But I was too busy

Discussing math

Class was freewheeling

A meeting of minds

To explore math

Some of my best ideas came from

Noether boys

I taught on holidays too

Even after the Third Reich

Sacked me

I taught at Bryn Mawr then

Einstein said my algebraic methods

Developed current mathematicians

“My methods are really

Methods of working and thinking

That’s why they have

Crept in everywhere.”

Math may not be ladylike

But I had a head for figures

Go figure.

Here’s the previous poem in my Famous Women series.

Here’s more on Emmy Noether.

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