Grace Hopper is now a household name at Yale. We know her as a pioneering computer scientist and decorated Naval officer. However, what is often overlooked is her story as a mathematician. She received her Ph.D. in Mathematics at Yale and went on to be a mathematics professor at Vassar before joining the Navy, yet her groundbreaking mathematical research remains completely unknown. Her education and early career identity as a mathematician are often minimized or treated as a kind of incongruous first chapter in the story of the “Queen of Code.”
During this “college tea” at Grace Hopper College, I will discuss my recent archival research into the previously unknown mathematical legacy of Grace Murray Hopper, including an explanation of the results from her 1934 Ph.D. thesis on irreducibility criteria for polynomials via her construction of what I call the Newton-Hopper polygon, a convex version of what is known today as the Archimedean Newton polygon. I will also discuss some of the ways that her achievements have often been misframed. Tea and cookies will be served.