One of her solutions for an algebraic equation is still found in
today's textbooks. The solution follows a curve now called the
"witch of Agnesi" not because she was thought to be a witch, but
because the shape of the curve was called * aversiera *, which in
Italian means to turn. The word is also a slang short form for the *
avversiere* which means wife of the devil. A series of
mistranslations over time finally set the name of curve to the "witch
of Agnesi". We now present the Living Witch of Agnesi. Watch the curve grow before
your very eyes.

She was a child prodigy. By the age of nine she wrote, read and spoke Italian, French, Latin, Greek, German, Spanish and Hebrew, and was known as the "oracle of the seven tongues". When Pope Benedick XIV appointed her to the chair of higher mathematics at the University of Bologna he said

*Permit me, mademoisells, to unite my personal homage to the plaudits
of the entire Academy. I have the pleasure of making known to my
country an extremely useful work which has long been desired, and which
has hitherto existed only in outline. I do not know of any work of
this kind which is clearer, more methodic or more comprehensive than
your Analytical Institutions. There is none in any language which can
guide more surely, lead more quickly, and conduct further those who wish
to advance in the mathematical sciences. I admire particularly the art
with which you bring under uniform methods the divers conclusions
scattered among the works of geometers and reached by methods entirely
different."*

from *Women in Science*, H.J. Mozans, 1913, D.
Appleton and Company.

The book was titled *Instituzioni analitiche ad uso della gioventu italiana*
(Analytical Institutions), a compendium of algebra, analytic geometry,
calculus, and differential equations, praised by many for its completeness,
precise organization, and original contributions.

More information about this remarkable lady may be found on UK history project listing on Maria Agnesi or from Agnes Scott College section on Maria Agnesi. Just a note about the Agnes Scott site; the first equation they give for the Witch of Agnesi curve is for an orientation of axes where X is vertical and Y is horizontal. This was the reference frame that Maria Agnesi used. Reference frames today use X horizontal and Y vertical. The curve in this reference frame can be found directly in "Standard Mathematical Formulas" from CRC Press. This is the form used in the Living Witch of Agnesi shown on this site.