Sofya Kovalevskaya

As regards myself, all my life I was not able to decide to which I was more attracted mathematics or literature. . . . Possibly, in each of these areas I might have accomplished more, if I would have given myself up to it exclusively, none the less I am not able to renounce one of them completely.

Sofya Vasilyevna Kovalevskaya (1850-1891) was a mathematician and writer who made a valuable contribution to the theory of partial differential equations. She was the first woman in modern Europe to gain a doctorate in mathematics, the first to join the editorial board of a scientific journal, and the first to be appointed professor of mathematics. The French Academy of Sciences awarded her the Prix Bordin for her paper ‘On the problem of the rotation of a solid body about a fixed point’ in 1888. She also wrote an autobiographical pieces, a novel, numerous other literary works, political and social essays, as well as the theatrical play ‘The struggle for happiness’ with Anne Leffler.