History of Hypatia of Alexandria, the first woman scientist

The influence of Hypatia is still present in modern society. She is considered the first scientist in history, which has merit especially in a time like the one she lived in, when women in general were denied access to any source of knowledge.

For Hypatia, the way to approach the truth and cultivate knowledge was through numbers and not by mere observation of phenomena, since the latter were only reflections of the former.

For her it was an aberration to consider superstitions as true facts and in her classes she prioritized dialogue with her students, with whom she discussed topics as varied as astronomy, philosophy, religion, mathematics and ethics, for example.

Birth and early years

The exact date of her birth is not known, but it is estimated that Hypatia was born in the year 370 BC. C. Her father was the mathematician and philosopher Theon of Alexandria, who had a strong influence on her because he motivated her to form herself in a profound and complete way: body and mind.

That is why Hypatia obtained an education with a strict scientific basis, while she carried out an exercise routine that kept her strong and healthy.

Later Hypatia went to study at the Museum, an institution where her father worked and which was founded by the emperor who succeeded Alexander the Great, Ptolemy.

This establishment was part of Hypatia's life until she passed away. She studied and taught there, and obtained a deep training in the field of science.

Teaching at the Museum

Hypatia specialized in various areas of knowledge, among which astronomy, philosophy, music and mathematics stand out, and she taught at the Museum for 20 years.

Thanks to this, she obtained the respect of many of her colleagues, who considered her a reference of great importance in terms of philosophical and scientific knowledge.

Conflict with Christianity

A woman like Hypatia, with widely cultivated knowledge and a scientific approach to life, was perceived by fanatics of Christianity as a heretic, who considered that the scientists of the time betrayed the precepts of religion Christian.

At the time in which Hypatia lived, the Christians began to impose their beliefs in Alexandria, which involved an atrocious persecution of anyone who decided not to renounce her scientific ideas. Hypatia was part of this group of people.

Death of Hypatia

Faced with this scientist's refusal to deny her knowledge, she was fiercely approached by a mob of fanatical Christians, who beat her, stripped her clothes, dragged her, harassed her, and dismembered her with scandalous brutality.

After parading her shattered body through the city as a triumph and a trophy, they cremated her remains in the Ciraneo, a supposed crematorium.

Why was Hypatia so important?

Hipatia's contributions in the fields of astronomy and mathematics are notable. According to historical records, it is estimated that Hypatia worked with her father and together they revised, rewrote and commented on several of her most important works written to date.

There is no concrete evidence to distinguish between the contributions of Hypatia and those of Theon, but some chroniclers of the time determined that she had more scientific achievements than her father and that, after his father died, she continued with his solo studies, without any kind of collaborations.

Furthermore, Hypatia mathematically analyzed the movement of the stars described in one of the most important works of the Greek scientist Ptolemy, created a hydroscope capable of measuring liquids and drew up a terrestrial planisphere

During his life he actively participated in the municipal sphere and had wide influence among the powerful figures of the city; in fact, representatives of politics from various spheres approached her recurrently to ask for advice from her.It was her great influence that made Christians consider her a threat. .


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