- (c. 370–415) Greek mathematicianHypatia, who was born in Alexandria, Egypt, was the daughter of Theon of Alexandria, the author of a well-known commentary of Ptolemy. In 400 she was reported to be head of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria. None of her work has survived, although some information about her comes from the letters of her pupil Synesius of Cyrene. To her have been attributed commentaries on Ptolemy's Almagest, Diophantus's Arithmetic, and Apollonius'sConics. She also designed several scientific instruments including an astrolabe, a hydrometer, and a still.Learning and science came to a violent conclusion in Alexandria and in the West, as did Hypatia. In conflict with Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, through her friendship with Orestes, the Roman prefect of the city, she was killed by a Christian mob. The circumstances of her death in March 415 have been described by the fifth-century historian Socrates Scholasticus: “All men did both reverence and had her in admiration for the singular modesty of her mind. Wherefore she had great spite and envy owed unto her, and because she conferred oft, and had great familiarity with Orestes, the people charged her that she was the cause why the bishop and Orestes were not become friends. To be short, certain heady and rash cockbrains whose guide and captain was Peter, a reader of that Church, watched this woman coming home from some place or other, they pull her out of her chariot: they hail her into the Church called Caesarium: they stripped her stark naked they raze the skin and rend the flesh of her body with sharp shells, until the breath departed out of her body: they quarter her body: they bring her quarters unto a place called Cinaron and burn them to ashes.”The manner of her death and reports of her intellect and beauty have made her a romantic figure. For many centuries, with the possible exception of the alchemist Marie the Jewess, she was regarded as the only woman scientist of the Ancient World.
Scientists. Academic. 2011.