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date: 22 January 2020

Wrinch, Dorothy Maudlocked

(12 September 1894–11 February 1976)
  • Charles W. Carey Jr.


Wrinch, Dorothy Maud (12 September 1894–11 February 1976), mathematician and biochemical theorist, was born in Rosario, Argentina, the daughter of Hugh Edward Hart Wrinch, an engineer, and Ada Souter. Her parents were British subjects who returned to London, England, during her adolescence.

In 1913 Dorothy Wrinch entered Cambridge University’s Girton College, where she excelled in mathematics and philosophy. While at Girton she met and became friendly with the philosopher Bertrand Russell, whose work in mathematical logic had a profound effect on her career. After receiving her B.A. in 1917, she remained at Girton as a research scholar for a year. From 1918 to 1920 she taught mathematics at the University of London’s University College, where she also studied and earned her M.Sc. and D.Sc. in mathematics in 1920 and 1921, respectively. She returned to Girton in 1920 to accept a research fellowship. In 1922 she married John William Nicholson, the newly appointed director of studies in mathematics and physics at Oxford University’s Balliol College, and the next year she became affiliated with Oxford as both a teacher and student. For four years she taught mathematics on a per-term basis at its five women’s colleges, and in 1927 she was made a lecturer at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She continued her studies in mathematics and received another M.Sc. in 1924, and in 1929, the first D.Sc. ever awarded by Oxford to a woman....

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