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Sofia, the girl who wanted something else.

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Paola Elefante

on 25 February 2015

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Transcript of Sofia, the girl who wanted something else.

Sofia, the girl who wanted something else.
On January 15th 1850, in Moscow...
Weak mother figure, rebel older sister and natural affinity with her father: this was the magic cocktail.
The Cauchy-Kovalevskaya theorem
Contained in her dissertation of 1974.
The Kovalevskaya top
A top is a material body that is symmetrical about an axis and terminates in a sharp point (vertex) at one end of the axis.
Working with Weierstrass
A life-lasting friendship.

He was close to her struggles and always championed her.

By 1874, Sofia had
dissertations ready and the University of Goettinger granted her a doctoral degree (1st woman in Europe).
Gösta Mittag-Leffler
Paola Elefante

view of Moskov, 1880.
Fond of literature, strong and rebel. She even turned down a proposal from Dostoevsky!
Finding freedom
Sofia proposed a fictitious marriage to Vladimir Kovalevsky.
They left to Europe, Anna in Paris, the couple in Heidelberg.
In 1870, Sofia moved to Berlin and met Weierstrass.
Use of the majorant method.
After the degree, the couple moved back to Russia, where...
Real married life
The marriage turned into a real one and in 1878 "Fufa" was born.
The family started struggling against unemployment and a bad financial situation.
Sofia sent a paper to a conference and met her second paladin.
Fighting for a position in Academia
Mittag-Leffler was professor at the University of Helsinki in 1877-1881.
Sofia could never win a position at HY: she was Russian.
In 1883 Vladimir killed himself. Sofia starved herself to coma.
In 1884 Sofia got a position in Stockholm.
In 1887, Anna died in her arms after a long sickness.
Sofia, today
62 million girls out of school globally.
Every 3 seconds, a girl is forced to marry.
Watch the documentary
Girl rising
The top is rotating around one fixed point and affected by gravity.
Kovalevskaya extended the known theory of rotation dynamics of rigid body.
She won a prestigious prize that, due to the exceptionality of the result, was doubled in value by the jury.
Sofia Kovalevskaya
2008 report on gender equality at the Math dep. of University of Helsinki
Full transcript