Königliches Realgymnasium now known as Willstätter-gymnasium ) which allowed her to spend a semester at the (Georg-August) University of Göttingen. Here she was able to attend lectures given by the astronomer Karl Schwarzschild and by mathematicians of the stature of Hermann Minkowski, Otto Blumenthal, Felix Klein and David Hilbert. During this period and till the 1930’s the Mathematics Department at the University of Göttingen was regarded amongst the best in the world, a veritable `Mecca of Mathematics’. It had some of the best mathematicians on the faculty and attracted visiting mathematicians and students from all over the globe. Around 1900, the law changed and the Prussian government permitted female students to enroll in the University and to take examinations with the same rights as the male students. Germany was one of the last countries to allow women to matriculate at universities. This was due to the strong hold over German society by the conservatives who did not wish any change in the traditional roles assigned to women. France, England and Italy had allowed women into their universities much earlier. This change in the law enabled Emmy Noether to enroll at the university in her hometown of Erlangen in 1904. At the University of Erlangen, Emmy listed mathematics as her only course of study. During this period, Emmy and Fritz were both at the university and attended classes taught by their father Max Noether who had become a full professor at the (Friedrich- Alexander) University of Erlangen. Max Noether along with his senior colleague and friend Paul Gordan were responsible for the main courses in mathematics. Doctoral Thesis: Emmy Noether did her doctoral thesis under the supervision of Paul Gordan on a topic based on the theory of invariants.
Paul Gordan was known as the `king of invariants’, and his influence was clear in both the topic chosen as well as in the treatment adapted by Emmy Noether. This was much removed from the abstract theoretical thinking that was the hallmark of Emmy Noether’s work in algebra in later years. Emmy Noether graduated `summa cum laude’ * and received her doctoral degree in 1907. She worked for some years after that at the University of Erlangen without pay or post, mainly helping her aging disabled father (Max Noether had been stricken with polio at the young age of 18). She also pursued her own research project related to the theory of invariants. She became a member of two mathematical societies: Circolo Matematico de Palermo in 1908 and the Deutsche Mathematiker Vereinigung in 1909. These provided her a platform to discuss mathematics with other mathematicians and well-known specialists. The Göttingen Period: Another of her mentors at Erlangen was Ernst Fischer, a successor to Gordan’s post.
- Fall '09
- Math, Emmy Noether, Amalie Emmy Noether