Maria Gaetana Agnesi (Mathematics)
Birthday: 1718, Milan, Italy
Maria Gaetana Agnesi was a child prodigy speaking six
languages at age 11. Daughter of a mathematics professor at the University of
Bologna, her chief love was mathematics and between the ages of 20 and 30 she
wrote a two-volume textbook summarizing the algebra, geometry and calculus of
her day. The book, Le Instituzioni Analitiche was published to great
acclaim in 1748 and was still a useful text 50 years later.
Ilya (Elie) Me(t)chnikov (Zoology)
Birthday: 1845, Kharkov, Eastern Ukraine
Ilya Mechnikov studied the embryology of marine invertebrates
at Kharkov University. Later he studied at Odessa (briefly) and in France with
Pasteur, the involvement of phagocytes in digestion of food and bacteria, and
senile atrophy. His theories are the earliest concept of auto-immune disease. He
shared the 1908 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology with Paul Ehrlich (May 29)
in recognition of their work on immunity.