Sofya’s life, very well documented, is full of stories, of good stories, of sinister stories, of true stories and romances, of sad stories. There is an abundance of sources of all sorts, including the autobiographical: from A Russian Childhood [Kovalevskaya 1898] to a posthumously published autobiographical sketch, an English translation of which is found in the book [Kovalevskaya 1978], through an autobiography in Latin dating from the time of her thesis and reproduced in [Mittag-Leffler 1923, p. 48]. But, as was quite rightly noted by Roger Cooke [2002a, p. 14] in relating in detail a somewhat melodramatic story where all the elements are known without being really interesting, the sources are capricious, surviving by chance (we will see that the documents that would have been most useful for the history of mathematics and for Sofya’s life have been destroyed).


Young Lady Black Coat Blue Glass Russian Childhood Mathematical Gift 
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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de recherche mathématique avancéeUniversité de Strasbourg et CNRSStrasbourg CedexFrance

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