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Hypatia, Mathematician and Astronomer

Galileo and Ptolemy come to mind when one thinks of early astronomy. But Hypatia of Alexandira (370 - 415 BC), who was the first known female mathematician, contributed significant commentaries on many works by Ptolemy, Diophantus, Perga, and others, is often overlooked.

Hypatia, who followed in her father's footsteps as a mathematician, enjoyed privileges living in Egypt that others did not — like driving her own chariot. In 415 BC, Hypatia was murdered and the Great Library of Alexandra, which included many of her works, was burned. Today, Hypatia is honored by the asteroid belt and lunar crater that bears her name.

Additional reporting by Nicole Nguyen

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