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From r..@ai.mit.edu (Robert S. Thau)
Subject Re: name
Date Fri, 10 Mar 1995 17:40:54 GMT
   Date: Fri, 10 Mar 95 22:24 GMT
   From: drtr@ast.cam.ac.uk (David Robinson)

   I prefer something classical or mythological (the browser I use most is
   chimera).

Well, it's not mythological, and it's not as euphonious as it might be,
but if we're looking at Greeks, we might want to consider Hypatia ---
for one thing, the woman deserves to be honored somehow, and for another,
she's not around to object.  (For those who don't know the story, here
it is, courtesy of the online Britannica:)



[Index] (b. c. 370, Alexandria, Egypt--d. March 415, Alexandria),
Egyptian Neoplatonist philosopher who was the first notable woman in
mathematics.

The daughter of Theon, also a mathematician and philosopher, Hypatia
became the recognized head of the Neoplatonist school of philosophy at
[Index] Alexandria, and her eloquence, modesty, and beauty, combined
with her remarkable intellectual gifts, attracted a large number of
pupils.  Among them was Synesius of Cyrene, afterward bishop of
Ptolemais (c. 410), several of whose letters to her are still extant.

Hypatia symbolized learning and science, which at that time in Western
history were largely identified by the early Christians with
paganism. As such, she was a focal point in the tension and riots
between Christians and non-Christians that more than once racked
Alexandria. After the accession of Cyril to the patriarchate of
Alexandria in 412, Hypatia was barbarously murdered by the Nitrian
monks and a fanatical mob of Cyril's Christian followers, supposedly
because of her intimacy with Orestes, the city's pagan
prefect. Whatever the precise motivation for the murder, the departure
soon afterward of many scholars marked the beginning of the decline of
Alexandria as a major centre of ancient learning.

According to the Suda lexicon, Hypatia wrote commentaries on the
Arithmetica of Diophantus of Alexandria, on the Conics of Apollonius
of Perga, and on the astronomical canon of Ptolemy.  These works are
lost, but their titles, combined with the letters of Synesius, who
consulted her about the construction of an astrolabe and a hydroscope,
indicate that she devoted herself particularly to astronomy and
mathematics. The existence of any strictly philosophical works by her
is unknown. Her philosophy was more scholarly and scientific in its
interest and less mystical and intransigently pagan than the Athenian
school and was the embodiment of Alexandrian Neoplatonism.


Copyright (c) 1994, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.



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