22 Influential Women You Probably Didn't Learn About in School

Victoria Woodhull, Althea Gibson, Hypatia
Victoria Woodhull, Althea Gibson, Hypatia / Victoria Woodhull, Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images // Althea Gibson, AFP/AFP via Getty Images // Hypatia, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
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17. Hypatia

Hypatia (c370-415), mathematician and neo-Platonic philosopher, mid 19th century.
Hypatia / Print Collector/GettyImages

If you’ve ever seen The Good Place, you know why a chance to chat with Hypatia would be a huge deal. Hypatia lived in Alexandria, Egypt, in the 4th and 5th centuries. According to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, she is “the first female Greek mathematician of whom we have substantial information,” and was also an astronomer and philosopher, following the Neoplatonist school of thought. Students came from throughout the Mediterranean and beyond to study with Hypatia. She was also a pagan—and was brutally murdered by a Christian mob that blamed her for preventing Orestes, the Roman prefect, from reconciling with Cyril, the city’s Patriarch.