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Hypatia - Windows to the Universe

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Hypatia

Hypatia was an Egyptian mathematician and philosopher who lived between 370-415. She taught mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy at the Neoplatic school in Alexandria, Egypt. She was the daughter of Theon, a famous mathematician of the time.

Hypatia wrote three books on mathematics and astronomy. In addition, she invented several tools relating to astronomy and the Earth sciences. A few include: a device for measuring water levels, a distillation machine, an astrolabe (instrument that fixes the positions of the sun and stars), a planisphere, and a hydrometer (measures the specific gravity of liquids).

Hypatia also wrote about religion and philosophy. The following is one of her more famous sayings:

Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.

Hypatia was killed violently due to her teachings, which were considered Pagan.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF