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Remembering Emmy Noether – Bio & Science 3.7

  • Uploaded by Drbunny on Feb 25, 2011
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SPEAKER: Ransom Stephens, Ph.D.

PIANO: Naomi Druskic / Age 11

EDIT & AUDIO MIX: Robert Darrell


Amalie Emmy Noether (1882 – 1935) was an influential German mathematician known for her groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. Described by Albert Einstein and others as the most important woman in the history of mathematics; she revolutionized the theories of rings, fields, and algebras.

In physics, Noether's theorem explains the fundamental connection between symmetry and conservation laws. Emmy Noether made perhaps the most significant discovery of the 20th century.
A female Jewish intellectual in Nazi Germany (you can do that math) Emmy's was a special approach to life.

Emmy Noether's Theorem ties the laws of nature -- from Newton's laws to thermodynamics to charge conservation -- directly to the geometry of space and time, the very fabric of reality. It is the basis for the standard model of particle physics, quantum electrodynamics, and grand unified theories including super-symmetry and super-strings. As usual in physics, it gets really interesting when the theorem is violated: answers to the origin of mass and the matter-antimatter asymmetry problems emerge when Noether's theorem is violated.

Two things should bother you about Noether's Theorem:

(1) how come so few people have heard of Emmy Noether? and (2) why isn't her theorem well known to lovers of science?

Speaker Info:

Ransom Stephens, Ph.D., is a professor of particle physics turned writer and speaker. He has worked on experiments at SLAC, Fermilab, CERN, and Cornell; discovered a new type of matter formed by the fusion of two photons, made the most precise measurements of rare bottom quark decays in the world, and was on the team that discovered the top quark. His new novel, The God Patent (, is set in the battle between science and religion over the nature of the soul and the origin of the universe. It features a character based on the turn of the century mathematician, Emmy Noether.

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