The Witch of Agnesi

Happy Halloween! Fascinating story behind the witch: Maria Agnesi was an Italian mathematician and scholar whose name is associated with the curve known as the Witch of Agnesi. Maria wrote about it in her teaching manual and referred to it as the “aversiera,” which simply means to turn. But in translating this, the British mathematician John Colson (1680-1760), the fifth Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, confused aversiera with “avversiere” which means witch, or wife of the devil. And so the name of the curve came down to us as the Witch of Agnesi. Learn more. . . . … Continue reading The Witch of Agnesi