Sophie Germain

1776 - 1831

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Marie-Sophie Germain (French: [maʁi sɔfi ʒɛʁmɛ̃]; 1 April 1776 – 27 June 1831) was a French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher. Despite initial opposition from her parents and difficulties presented by society, she gained education from books in her father's library, including ones by Euler, and from correspondence with famous mathematicians such as Lagrange, Legendre, and Gauss (under the pseudonym of Monsieur LeBlanc). One of the pioneers of elasticity theory, she won the grand prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences for her essay on the subject. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Sophie Germain has received more than 847,700 page views. Her biography is available in 58 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 56 in 2019). Sophie Germain is the 51st most popular mathematician (down from 46th in 2019), the 334th most popular biography from France (down from 322nd in 2019) and the 11th most popular French Mathematician.

Sophie Germain is most famous for her work in number theory. She is the first woman to be awarded a prize from the French Academy of Sciences and the first woman to be elected to the French Academy of Sciences.

Memorability Metrics

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    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

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  • 8.73

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 3.03

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)


Among mathematicians, Sophie Germain ranks 51 out of 1,004Before her are Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Archytas, Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet, Sofia Kovalevskaya, Eudoxus of Cnidus, and Brahmagupta. After her are Karl Weierstrass, Philolaus, Marin Mersenne, Norbert Wiener, Claude Shannon, and Gaspard Monge.

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Among people born in 1776, Sophie Germain ranks 4Before her are Amedeo Avogadro, E. T. A. Hoffmann, and Johann Friedrich Herbart. After her are John Constable, Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Ioannis Kapodistrias, Caroline of Baden, Şehzade Abdullah, Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary, Johann Wilhelm Ritter, and Barthold Georg Niebuhr. Among people deceased in 1831, Sophie Germain ranks 5Before her are Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Carl von Clausewitz, James Monroe, and Napoléon Louis Bonaparte. After her are Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich of Russia, Ioannis Kapodistrias, Emilia Plater, Nat Turner, Achim von Arnim, Charles Felix of Sardinia, and Archduke Rudolf of Austria.

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In France

Among people born in France, Sophie Germain ranks 334 out of 6,770Before her are Josquin des Prez (1450), Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor (1275), Colette (1873), Luc Montagnier (1932), Louis VI of France (1081), and François Couperin (1668). After her are Nadar (1820), Pierre Beaumarchais (1732), Chrétien de Troyes (1135), Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart, Marquise de Montespan (1640), Robert I, Duke of Normandy (1010), and Charles Messier (1730).


Among mathematicians born in France, Sophie Germain ranks 11Before her are Joseph Fourier (1768), Jean le Rond d'Alembert (1717), Évariste Galois (1811), François Viète (1540), Augustin-Louis Cauchy (1789), and Pope Sylvester II (938). After her are Marin Mersenne (1588), Gaspard Monge (1746), Émilie du Châtelet (1706), Urbain Le Verrier (1811), Abraham de Moivre (1667), and Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728).