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Science

The story of the woman who dreamed of numbers and hid under a male pseudonym

Zaragoza / “The woman who dreamed of numbers” is the title of the documentary that rescues, three centuries later, the unknown history of mathematics María Andresa Casamayor, author of the first science book written by a woman who is preserved in Spain.

Born in Zaragoza in 1720, she published at 17 years old and under a male pseudonym her work “Tyrocinio Arithmético”, a small book that tried to explain to the merchants the basic mathematical rules and that is preserved in the National Library, in Madrid. There, on February 13, the preview of this 60-minute film will be made, which will arrive in the Aragonese capital just one day later, in a screening in the Patio de la Infanta.

Coinciding with the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, promoted by the United Nations on February 11, the director of the film produced by Sintregua Communication, Mirella R. Abrisqueta, underlined the two years of work invested in this documentary.

It means – she said – the recognition that Casamayor could not have in life, since in the eighteenth century he had to choose to camouflage his identity under a male pseudonym.

“The documentary addresses the invisibility of women in history, because she sacrificed her authorship, because if not the men, to whom her book was directed, would never have read it,” said the filmmaker about the simple manual of mathematics.

Descendant of merchants, the book he wrote served as a reference in commerce, as it includes exhaustive lists of measures, weights and coins of the time with their equivalences.

The University Institute of Research in Mathematics and Applications (IUMA) has conducted a parallel research on mathematics, which has allowed us to know unknown data so far, such as that the name recorded in her birth certificate was María Andresa (also known as Andrea ) or that in his adulthood he devoted himself to teaching.

The documentary

The documentary, which was recorded in Zaragoza and Madrid, also has a fiction part in which it features actresses Claudia Siba and María José Moreno to recreate two different moments in the life of Casamayor, who appears alongside illustrious children of the city ​​in the eighteenth century as the count of Aranda, Ramón Pignatelli or Josefa Amar y Borbón.

And if they have resorted to fiction it is precisely because, despite what has been investigated, little is known about their life, although, as Abrisqueta has pointed out, this time it has been an audiovisual that has driven the research work, and not vice versa.

Now, thanks to this documentary and the work done to follow in his footsteps, you will be able to know a little more about the author of the oldest science book written by a woman who is preserved in Spain and will contribute, as the director has pointed out, to that there are more female references in science

February 11 is the day dedicated since 2015 by the United Nations to give visibility to female talent, women and girls, in the scientific and technological fields. (February 12, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)

(Automatic translation)

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