Mathematics mulan | Sophie Germain
数学花木兰 | 索菲·热尔曼

Happy childhood

幸福的童年

Germain was born in a wealthy merchant family. When she was young, the social environment in France was not very good, and the society order was chaotic. In order to protect her, her parents made her stay at home to study.
热尔曼出生于一个富裕的商人家庭,她小时候的法国社会环境不太好,秩序混乱,父母为了保护她,让她待在家中学习。

Little Germain read all kinds of interesting books in his father’s study. The fascination of mathematics began to attract the child, especially when she read about the death of Archimedes, who would be killed by soldiers, and was still fascinated by the fun of studying mathematics, she was deeply shocked.
小热尔曼在父亲的书房中查看各种有意思的书籍,数学的魅力开始吸引这个孩子,特别是当她读到前辈阿基米德被士兵杀害的生死之际依然沉醉在研究数学中的乐趣中时,她深深震撼了。

She began to stay up all night for learning maths. But her parents took away her candles and put out her fire due to thinking of her health. Little Germain did not give up. She stole candles, wrapped herself in a quilt, and studied mathematics quietly. As a result, her parents made a concession and supported her to continue her studies.
她开始熬夜学习数学,父母考虑到她的健康便拿走了她的蜡烛,熄灭了她的炉火。不过小热尔曼不曾放弃,她偷来蜡烛,把自己裹在被子中,悄悄地研究数学。不得已,父母退让了,支持她继续学习下去。

Go to university

进修数学

In 1794, a famous university was founded in Paris —— The University of Science and Technology, there were many mathematical masters, such as Laplace and Lagrange. Little Germain grew up to be a big girl of eighteen. When she heard about the university, she was eager to go there.
1794年,巴黎创办了一所著名的大学——综合科技大学,云集了很多数学大师,比如拉普拉斯,拉格朗日等。小热尔曼长成了一个18岁的大姑娘了,听说那所大学之后,她渴望能进去深造。

Although there had been five years since the French Revolution happened, the prejudice against women had never been completely eliminated. The University of Science and Technology accepted only male students, perhaps those leaders thought women could not work in mathematics. In short, Germain was kept out of the door.
然而,尽管法国大革命已经过去了5年,但是整个社会对妇女的偏见却从未完全消除,综合科技大学只接收男性学生,也许是那些人认为女子不能从事数学工作,总之,热尔曼被阻挡在大门之外。

The secular prejudices did not dissuade Germain from studying mathematics. She was determined to change people’s perceptions. Germain got course notes from the nearby Ecole Polytechnique in the name of a leaver, “Monsieur Antoine-Auguste LeBlanc”. Unaware that Mr. Leblanc had left the school, school administrators continued to print handouts and problem sets for her. Germain also handed in his homework under Mr. Leblanc’s name.
世俗的偏见没有让热尔曼放弃研究数学的道路,她坚定信念,决心改变人们的看法。热尔曼会以一位离校生“安东尼–奥古斯特·勒布朗先生”的名义,从附近的巴黎综合理工大学获取课程讲义。因为不知道勒布朗先生已经离校,学校管理人员继续为她印刷讲义和习题集。热尔曼还以勒布朗先生的名义交作业。

After comparing the mathematical works of Euler, Gauss, and Lagrange, Germain concluded that Lagrange’s work was easy to understand, it’s fun and suitable for self-study. Soon she felt the urge to write a paper, and wanted to record her learning experience for Lagrange to read himself! Before long, a mysterious “Mr. Brown” sent the papers to Lagrange.
比较了欧拉、高斯和拉格朗日的数学著作之后,热尔曼认为拉格朗日的著作通俗易懂,其乐无穷,适合自学。不久她有了写论文的冲动,想要把自己的学习心得记录下来写成论文让拉格朗日亲自审读!不久,一位神秘的“布朗先生”寄出了这些论文,送到了拉格朗日的手上。

Lagrange read the letters and was so impressed by the talent displayed by this mysterious young man, then he decided to visit the young man himself. After the meeting, Lagrange learned that “Monsieur Brown” was a beautiful woman, and was surprised by her strong ability to learn on her own. He offered to be Germain’s tutor. Under the guidance of Lagrange, Germain made rapid progress and later became a famous female mathematician in French history.
拉格朗日阅读了这些来信,他对这位神秘的后生展现的才华赞不绝口,决定亲自拜访这位年轻人本人。见面之后,拉格朗日才知道“布朗先生”是一位美丽的女子,非常惊讶于她强大的自学能力。他主动提出想做热尔曼的指导老师。在拉格朗日的指导下,热尔曼进步神速,后来成长为法国历史上著名的女数学家。

Protect Gauss

保护高斯

Germann’s early achievements were related to number theory, and she made important contributions to the proof of Fermat’s last Theorem. When she thought she had made a breakthrough, Germain wrote again under the pseudonym Anthony LeBlanc to Karl Friedrich Gauss, the world’s greatest number theorist (and one of history’s greatest mathematicians). Gauss admired the mystery writer’s talent, and they kept up a cordial exchange of letters for the next three years.
热尔曼的早期成就与数论有关,她为费马大定理的证明做出了重要贡献。当她觉得自己取得了突破时,热尔曼再次用安东尼·勒布朗这个化名给世界上最伟大的数论家(和历史上最伟大的数学家之一)卡尔·弗里德里希·高斯写了一封信。高斯很欣赏这位神秘通信者的才华,此后的三年间他们一直保持着亲切友好的书信交流。

But one day in 1806, things took a turn for the worse, and Gauss’s life was threatened. Napoleon’s army invaded Prussia and Gauss’s home town of Brunswick was captured. Germain used her family network to send a letter to her friend, a general in the French army, asking him to keep Gauss safe. When Gauss learned that his life had been saved with the help of Miss Sophie Germain, he was both grateful and puzzled, as he did not know the woman. In a subsequent letter, Germain confessed her true identity. Gauss was taken aback when he learned he had been corresponding with a woman. After found the depth of her insights, and all the prejudices and obstacles she had to endure, Gauss told Germain, “There is no doubt that you possess the most admirable courage, superior intelligence, and superior talent.”
但1806年的一天,形势恶化,高斯的生命受到了威胁。 拿破仑军队侵入普鲁士,高斯的家乡不伦瑞克被占领。 热尔曼利用家庭关系网,给她在法国军队担任将军的朋友寄去了一封信,请求他保护高斯的安全。 当高斯得知是在索菲·热尔曼小姐的帮助下,他的生命才受到了保护时,他既心怀感激又困惑不解,因为他并不认识这位女性。 在随后的一封信中,热尔曼坦承了她的真实身份。当高斯知道自己一直在和一位女性通信时,他大吃一惊。 鉴于她的见解之深刻,以及她必须忍受的所有偏见和障碍,高斯告诉热尔曼,“毫无疑问,你拥有最值得尊崇的勇气、卓越的才智和出类拔萃的天赋。”

last part

结语

After hearing about the competition to solve the mystery of the Cladney figure, Germain accepted the challenge bravely. She was the only one who dared to try to build the necessary theory from scratch. After three attempts, Germain finally won the grand prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences and became the first woman ever to do so. She is a worthy mathematical mulan.
在听说了旨在解开克拉德尼图形之谜的竞赛之后,热尔曼勇敢地接受了这项挑战。 她是唯一敢于尝试从零开始建立必要理论的人。经过三次尝试,热尔曼终于赢得了巴黎科学院的大奖,并成为有史以来第一位获此殊荣的女性。她就是当之无愧的数学界花木兰。

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