Thematic Reading List: Mathematician Biographies


Looking for a way to show children the impact of mathematicians? Check out these six books highlighting mathematicians who have made significant contributions to the world.

9780316278201 Nothing Stopped Sophie: the story of unshakable mathematician Sophie Germain
By: Cheryl Bardoe
Illustrated by: Barbara McClintock

A biography of Sophie Germain, who grew up during the French Revolution and followed her dream of studying mathematics, becoming the first woman to win a grand prize from the Royal Academy of Sciences and changing the world with her discoveries.
9780766034099 The Father of Geometry: Euclid and his 3-D world
By: Paul Hightower

Discusses the life of Euclid, geometry before Euclid, plane and solid geometry, and more. Includes an activity section, timeline, annotated list of Euclid’s works, list of other book suggestions, and a list of Internet resources.
9780823416219 Of Numbers and Stars: the story of Hypatia
By: D. Anne Love
illustrated by Pam Paparone

Presents the life of a Egyptian woman who lived in fifth century Alexandria and became a respected scholar in mathematics and philosophy.
1590841522 Archimedes
By: Susan Keating
Illustrated by: Stefano Tartarotti

Recalls stories about the life and work of the famous Greek mathematician, Archimedes, using accounts from the writings of a contemporary Roman statesman, Cicero.
9781534404755 Counting the Stars: the story of Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician
By: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrated by: Raul Colon

The story of Katherine Johnson, an African American mathematician whose work was critical to the first US space flight.
9781771385701 Lines, Bars, and Circles: how William Playfair invented graphs
By: Helaine Becker
Illustrated by Marie-Eve Tremblay

Born in Scotland more than 250 years ago, William Playfair was a dreamer who “saw the world differently from other people.” Unfortunately, this difference sometimes got in the way of his success. Early on, as he attempted to apply his unique perspective to a series of career opportunities in order to gain “riches! fame! glory!” he instead suffered one failure after another. Then, while writing a book about economics, Will’s innovative vision inspired an idea that would set him apart: he created the first modern line graph. Next came a bar graph and later a pie chart. These infographic inventions provided a way for numbers to be seen as pictures, which made them easier to understand and to remember — and thus changed the way the world would interact with data forever.


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