Maria Gaetana Agnesi, the eldest
of 21 children, assumed the care of her father's household after the
deaths of not only her mother, but also her two subsequent
stepmothers. She also assumed the responsibility of teaching her
younger brothers the new calculus. For them she wrote two volumes
of mathematics.
She wrote a wonderfully clear book. She even had the printing
press installed in the
family living room so that she could check each page as it first
appeared. The volumes are large, easy to read, and nearly
perfect. Her work soon received widespread acclaim. Today
we recognize her
Institutzioni
Analytiche (1748) as the first surviving mathematics publication
written by a woman.
At the end of the second volume she penned a closing message. Her
advice remains good to this very day.
"I will finish the Instituzioni with a warning.
The expert analyst should be industrious in trying to search for
solutions to these problems and will be much more advanced by means of
the techniques that are "born" during this process.
These techniques are used by illustrious mathematicians. Thus,
now it may be possible for you to read problems in other works, and
find solutions in other books, that utilize the skills and techniques
learned here."
FINE
Milan, Italy

For a
detailed translation please see
< http://instructional1.calstatela.edu/sgray/Agnesi/translation/translation.html
>