The Life of Hypatia – First Mathematician, Philosopher Astrologer

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Hypatia (born c. 355 CE—died March 415, Alexandria) was a renowned mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer. She lived in the most turbulent era in Alexandria’s history. Hypatia is one of the first female mathematicians. Her knowledge of work still exists. And of her generation, she was one of the wisest counselors. She also had a knack for impacting people around her that helped her inspire millions of people in her era.

Theon of Alexandria
Hypatia was the daughter of an astronomer and mathematician, Theon of Alexandria. Her father is well-known for contributing to one of the most crucial parts in preserving Euclid’s Elements. However, his commentary was in an extensive amount on Handy Tables and Ptolemy’s Almagest. Her father was among the most educated men in Egypt.

Early Life
Theon raised Hypatia in an educational household. Various historians believed that she surpassed her father’s intelligence at a young age. It was because of her love for learning and hunger for knowledge that led her to study more on mathematics, science, and astronomy, unlike other girls her age. 

Love for Knowledge
Because of Hypatia’s sharpness and education, various astronomers believe that Theon did his best in raising a human being who was perfect in all aspects. At the University of Alexandria, Theon was a mathematics professor and among the most well-known scholars. Hypatia and her father possessed a strong bond because she loved learning from her father. Every day, he would teach her something new regarding mathematics or philosophy. Her love for knowledge led her to be one of the first mathematicians of her era. She would ask Theon questions about the universe and space becoming passionate about astronomy.

Influence of Theon 
Theon’s diligence led him to ensure that Hypatia always kept an active physical routine that would help her keep her a healthy mind and body. When Hypatia took classes from her father regarding different subjects, he would teach her about the many religions. He also taught her how to influence people by her words. And that is exactly what she did. She used her knowledge to impact the lives of a million people positively. Hypatia became an excellent teacher. And it was only through her father’s teaching that she could become such an influential orator. 

Intelligence and Wisdom
Her instructions were so widespread that people from cities far away learned things about life, the universe, space, and mathematics from her. Theon trained her in the most exquisite way. Years later, she replaced him to become a leading mathematician. Her father left a few programs incomplete, which Hypatia continued. Those programs preserved the heritage of Greek astronomy and mathematics in a tricky era.

Remarkable Work
The number theory of Diophantus of Alexandria’s Arithmetic and Apollonius’s Perga’s Conics geometry, were credited by Hypatia with her commentaries. Along with the astronomical table, the aforementioned books were the only ones she wrote during her existence. However, these books were not studied further, and were lost amidst the other works of her which were tried to be recreated by various astronomers. Certain individuals also tried reconstructing its certain aspects, by adding false information in her works.

Hypatia was a woman with great intelligence, along with being a remarkable astronomer and a competent mathematician, she was also one of the most popular teachers of philosophy. Her subjects were of a nature that was less-specialist. Because of her teaching style and remarkable wisdom, she attracted many students. A lot of people gained inspiration from her work.

Simplifying Concepts 

Hypatia developed the ideas of parabolas, hyperbolas, and ellipses by editing the work on the Conics by Apollonius, and it was only due to her talent for conveying a message to her readers in the simplest form that the concepts were made easier to understand. Hypatia edited this book most in a clear and precise manner, making it easier to understand it, which is why it was able to survive through many centuries. It was only with Theon’s support that Hypatia could use her intelligence to full-extent and become one of the most renowned scholars and public speakers of her generation. After following her father into his library’s faculty, she wrote excessively on astronomy and mathematics, which later turned out to be a turning point for her career. She started to be known as a well-read woman.

While working on conic sections and algebraic equations, Hypatia also invented the astrolabe navigation ship and a measuring device for fluid’s density. However, not everyone loved her intelligence and outstanding inventions. Some people in her era despised her immensely. That is why during the year 415, on an early day of spring – a Christian men’s mob, murdered Hypatia. For mocking the sacrifice of the pagans, the mob of Christian men buried her remains.

An Inspiration For All
Today, Hypatia lives in her inventions and her well-spread wisdom. She made an ever-lasting impact and taught a very crucial lesson that a woman is not lesser than a man when it comes to studying, working, and prospering in the STEM. She paved the way for women to come to prosper and thrive in other field that they wish to pursue. She is, indeed, an inspiration for all.

Eman Khalid

Eman Khalid is a writer, editor, storyteller, and a journalist. She has been a co-author of more than twenty poetry books. She is a contributing writer to the Women's Republic, the Meraki Magazine, Litlight Magazine, Prosart Literary, Kitaab, StoryHouse UK, and The Latest. Eman is an English Language and Literature major born and raised in the Middle East (Kuwait). She has a deep passion for reading about inspirational women from the past. When she is not writing, you will find her reading books, listening to songs and taking long walks at the beach.

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