The Woman Behind the Matrix: Olga Taussky-Todd

By: Michelle Harrity Brewer


In the fall of 1999, I participated in Women in Mathematics, a class taught at Appalachian State University by Dr. Sarah Greenwald. We took a comprehensive look of the role of women in the history of mathematics. We analyzed gender and equity issues, and how they play out in the classroom. Women are the unheard voice of history. Today, they are still unequally represented in the public realm, especially in the field of mathematics. This paper, and those of my colleagues, is one effort to bridge the gap.

One such notable woman is Olga Taussky-Todd. At an early age, she fought for an education when most women were being kept silent and at home. Mathematics paid her way through life, brought her to her husband, and sent her around the world and back. She made a lasting effect in the field of matrix theory and number theory. Her work led her to help in the war effort, and to inspire a generation of students. Olga said that there was one thing that sparked her interest in math and kept it there, the interconnectedness of numbers. She still connects us today.

Biographical Information
A Mathematical Genealogy Map
A Taste of Her Mathematics
Gersgorin Disks, A Maple Program Example
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