Emmy Noether

Emmy Noether ( Amalie Emmy Noether ) ( born March 23, 1882 in Erlangen, † April 14, 1935 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania) was a German mathematician who made ​​fundamental contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics delivered. In particular, Noether has revolutionized the theory of rings, fields, and algebras. Named after her Noether theorem states the connection between symmetries of physical laws of nature and conservation values ​​.


Origin and Youth

Emmy Noether was from a well-off Jewish family. Today a plaque in the Erlanger main street reminiscent of her birthplace. Her father, Max Noether had held a chair in mathematics at the University of Erlangen. Her younger brother, the mathematician Fritz Noether, fled from the Nazis in the Soviet Union, where he was convicted and executed during the Great Terror of alleged anti-Soviet propaganda.

Emmy Noether showed in mathematical precocity no particular direction, but had in their youth interest in music and dancing. She attended the State Higher School for Girls - today's Marie -Therese High School - in the Schiller Street in Erlangen. There was at that time mathematics but not intensively taught. In April 1900, she presented the state exam to become a teacher of English and French language at girls' schools in Ansbach. In 1903 she took after the external Baccalaureate at the Royal Grammar School in Nuremberg.

Studies and career

1903 first registered at Bavarian universities to study women, which also allowed Emmy Noether enrollment in Erlangen. Previously, she had already visited with the permission of individual professors as an auditor lectures in Göttingen, but had to because of a disease back to Erlangen. She did her doctorate in mathematics in 1907 with Paul Gordan. She was thus the second German who received his doctorate at a German university in mathematics. In 1908 she became a member of the Circolo Matematico di Palermo, 1909, she joined the German Mathematical Society.

In 1909 she was launched by Felix Klein and David Hilbert to Göttingen, since they now had a real size on the research field of differential invariants. Göttingen at the time was the leading mathematical center of Germany and the world. Encouraged by Klein and Hilbert, Noether presented on July 20, 1915 a request for habilitation in Göttingen. The application was followed by intense controversy in the Faculty, where many faculty members generally spoke out against a Habilitation of women. Ultimately could but Hilbert and Klein assert (famous was the fallen in this context utterance Hilbert, a faculty was but no baths ). Since the habilitation of women in Prussian universities were forbidden by a decree of 29 May 1908 introduced the Math and Science Department of Arts Göttingen on November 26, 1915 an official request to the Prussian Minister:

Explicitly was added that there no way to lifting the ban on women habilitation would, but only a one-time exemption for Miss Dr. Noether:

In the negative reply, the Minister of November 5, 1917, said:

Emmy Noether was then left nothing else than to announce their lectures under the name of Hilbert, as his assistant, she acted.

After the First World War and the collapse of the empire came in the Weimar Republic to a general legal betterment of women. In addition to the right to vote and the Habilitation order was changed so that female candidates were admitted to the habilitation. So Emmy Noether could habilitate in 1919 and was the first woman who habilitated in Germany in mathematics. She was also the first woman in Germany to be awarded a ( non-civil servants ) Chair. Nevertheless, they got in 1922 as an associate professor and in 1923 their first paid teaching job. Until the hyperinflation in the same year she lived very sparingly of an inheritance. 1928/29, she took up a visiting professorship in Moscow, 1930 in Frankfurt am Main. On their return from the Soviet Union, it was very complimentary about the situation there, which is why her later assumed the Nazis to be a communist. Emmy Noether confessed his pacifism and was from 1919 to 1922 member of the USPD, then until 1924 the SPD. Together with Emil Artin received the Ackermann- Teubner 1932 Memorial Prize for their entire academic achievements. In 1932 she gave a plenary lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Zurich (Hyper Complex systems and their relations with commutative algebra and number theory ).


1933 Emmy Noether their teaching license was revoked as a result of the euphemistically called professional civil service law of the Nazi regime. Emmy Noether emigrated then to the USA. Before reaching this decision also drew into consideration to go to Moscow. But the efforts of its local friend, the eminent topologist Pavel Alexandrov to obtain an approval from the Soviet authorities, dragged on for too long. In America helped her former Göttingen colleague Hermann Weyl to find a spot for them. The end of 1933 she was appointed Visiting Professor at the Women's College Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. From 1934 Emmy Noether also lectured at the Institute for Advanced Study. She came again in 1934 to Europe and visited Emil Artin and her brother Fritz in Germany. Emmy Noether died on April 14, 1935 from complications of abdominal surgery, which had become necessary due to a tumor. She found their final resting place beneath the cloister in the M. Carey Thomas Library at Bryn Mawr.


Emmy Noether is one of the founders of modern algebra. Your mathematical profiling developed in cooperation and confrontation with the Erlanger Professor Paul Gordan, who was also her doctor father. They called Gordan like the "King of invariants ". The invariant theory employed Emmy Noether decided until the year 1919.

Notwithstanding Gordans main areas of interest to Noether turned to the exploration of the abstract algebraic methods. Gordan had Hilbert's proof of his Basistheorems, the generalized many results Gordans, but a pure existence proof was commented by saying that this is not mathematics, but theology.

From 1920 it moved its research focus on the general theory of ideals. In Göttingen, she founded her own school: Since the mid- 1920s, they found a number of highly talented students from around the world who gathered around them. Your students she called her " satellites " or the " Noether boys ". Her doctoral include Grete Hermann, Jakob Levitzki, Max Deuring, Ernst Witt, whose official supervisor was Herglotz, Heinrich Grell, Chiungtze Tsen, Hans Fitting, Otto Schilling and her circle of students Bartel Leendert van der Waerden.

In Göttingen, then the world center of mathematical research, it was the most influential academic teacher in the generation after Hilbert. Van der Waerden wrote in his famous two-volume algebra work that built on lectures by Emil Artin and Emmy Noether. Emmy Noether has been ascribed a crucial role in the implementation of abstract algebraic methods in topology, almost exclusively through oral contributions, for example in the lectures by Heinz Hopf in 1926/27 in Göttingen and in their own lectures to 1925. Inspired also the topologist Pavel Sergeevich Aleksandrov, who visited Göttingen.

Even in theoretical physics, it provided extraordinary and laid in 1918 with the Noether theorem, the foundation stone for a new consideration of conservation values ​​. In the last quarter of the 20th century, the Noether theorem became one of the most important foundations of physics.


After Emmy Noether following mathematical structures and rates are named:

  • Noetherian induction: A variant of transfinite induction.
  • Noetherian module: A left R- module in which every submodule is finitely generated.
  • Noetherian normalization theorem: A finitely generated algebra over a field is finite over a polynomial ring.
  • Noetherian order: A partially ordered set that contains no infinite descending chains genuine.
  • Noetherian space: A topological space in which applies an ascending chain condition for open sets.
  • Noetherian ring: A ring is noetherian as a left R- module and as a right R- module.
  • Noether 's theorem: For every continuous symmetry of a physical system includes a conserved quantity.

Next are named after Emmy Noether:

  • The Emmy Noether Programme of the German Research Foundation to promote young scientists
  • The Noether Lecture, an annual ceremony of the Association for Woman in Mathematics in the United States for women who have made fundamental and sustained contributions to mathematics
  • The Emmy -Noether- Campus of the University of Siegen on the subject areas of mathematics and physics are based at Fischbacher Berg,
  • The Emmy Noether High School, a high school in Berlin Treptow- Köpenick
  • The Emmy -Noether -Gymnasium, a scientific- technological high school in Erlangen- Bruck
  • The largest auditorium in the Mathematics Department of the University of Erlangen- Nuremberg
  • The crater Nöther on the side of the moon
  • The main belt asteroid 7001 Noether
  • Streets in numerous cities, including Bonn, Bremen, Erlangen, Freiburg, Göttingen, Karlsruhe, Cologne, Leverkusen, Lüneburg and Munich.

Other honors:

  • Since April 2009, Emmy Noether's bust stands in the hall of fame in Munich.
  • A - literarily free - Findings of her life and work can be found in the novel "The West " by Michael Köhlmeier.


  • Nathan Jacobson (ed.): Collected essays / Collected Papers. Springer, Berlin et al 1983, ISBN 3-540-11504-8.
  • Franz Lemmermeyer, Peter Roquette (ed.): Helmut Hasse and Emmy Noether. Correspondence 1925-1935 (PDF, 4.0 MB). University Verlag Göttingen, Göttingen 2006, ISBN 3-938616-35-0.