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Philippa Garrett Fawcett (4 April 1868 - 10 June 1948) was an English mathematician and educationalist.

She was the daughter of Millicent Fawcett, the suffragist, and of Henry Fawcett MP, Professor of Political Economy at Cambridge and Postmaster General in Gladstone's government. Her aunt was Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first English woman doctor. Fawcett was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge which had been co-founded by her mother.

In 1890, Fawcett was the first woman to obtain the top score in the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos exams. The results were always highly publicized, with the top scorers receiving great acclaim. Her score was 13% more than the second highest score; however, she did not receive the title of senior wrangler, as only men were then ranked, with women given a separate mention. Women had been allowed to take the Tripos since 1881 after Charlotte Angas Scott unofficially ranked as eighth wrangler. When the women were announced, Fawcett was described as "above the senior wrangler".

Coming amidst the women's suffrage movement, Fawcett's feat gathered worldwide media coverage, spurring much discussion about women's rights.

She worked from 1902-5 setting up schools in South Africa before returning to England to take a position in the administration of education in the London County Council.

References

* "Philippa Fawcett", Biographies of Women Mathematicians, Agnes Scott College
* O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Philippa Fawcett", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews, http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Fawcett.html .
* Rita McWilliams Tullberg, "Philippa Fawcett," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
* Stephen Siklos, official Newnham biography of Philippa Fawcett, 2004.

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