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Philippa Fawcett

Philippa Fawcett (1868 - 1948) was a British mathematician and the first woman to rank above the senior wrangler (highest achieved scores in the exams) of the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos. This achievement came at a time when women were officially allowed to sit the Mathematical Tripos but were ranked separately from the men and denied the right to receive a degree from the University of Cambridge. Her success received wide media coverage and prompted a discussion about the rational of thought and capabilities of women amidst the women’s suffrage movement.

Fawcett later went on to teach mathematics at various institutions, trained teachers and helped establish an educational system in South Africa, and was involved in developing secondary schools in the UK.

More information about Philippa Fawcett can be found here and here.

Photo credit: Sally Baume