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Whipple Library

Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Theory of sets of points

Grace Chisholm Young & W. H. Young,

The Theory of Sets of Points.

Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1906

STORE 224:11

Grace and William Young’s The Theory of Sets of Points was the first English introduction to some aspects of set theory; principally sets of orthogonal functions, point set topology and its application to integration, and properties of Fourier series. Grace studied at Girton College and was a wrangler in the Mathematical Tripos in 1892. Along with a friend, she then unofficially took the Final Honours School of Mathematics exam in Oxford, where she also gained a first class mark. Grace took her Ph.D. in Göttingen, becoming the first woman to be awarded a Doctorate in Germany.

This is Grace’s own copy of The Theory of Sets of Points. It is crammed with marginalia of all descriptions, including annotations, corrections, addenda, and refinements for a proposed second edition. However, the book also contains correspondence between Grace and her husband, as well as many other leading mathematicians of the day, of both a professional and a personal nature. Grace has also stuck in photographs of her husband and their youngest son Laurie (their eldest, Frank, was killed in 1917 serving with the RFC), along with a watercolour of Laurie with ‘ivy in his golden hair’. With the amount of extra material present in this volume, it has become a fascinating palimpsest of the personal and professional life of a ground-breaking female mathematician.

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