**Elza Furtado Gomide** was the second Brazilian woman to be awarded a doctorate in mathematics. She served for many years as Head of Mathematics at the Institute of Mathematics and Statistics in the University of São Paulo. She was influential in promoting a debate on the role of the university in the training of qualified professionals.

- Cândido Gomide had studied engineering in France and then became a mathematics teacher in São Paulo.
- Elza was educated at home until she was eleven years of age.
- Elza was born in that house.
- The Pinheiros river runs through São Paulo and, from age five to twelve, Elza would swim in the river every day and she became a champion swimmer.
- In 1937 Gomide entered the São Paulo State Gymnasium which was the only state gymnasium at the time, located on Rua do Carmo.
- Gomide graduated from the school in 1941 and applied to enter the University of São Paulo.
- In order to study Medicine, Engineering or Law, it was necessary for students to have two further years training before entering the courses but for the FFCL this was not necessary and Gomide could begin studying there in 1942.
- Gomide soon realised that mathematics was the subject for her and not physics.
- Gomide was awarded a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1945.
- This was the Mathematics department in which Gomide studied but there were changes from 1945 when she became Catunda's assistant.
- Catunda, with a scholarship from the Rockefeller Foundation, spent 1946-47 at Princeton University and Jean Dieudonné was appointed professor of mathematics at São Paulo for 1946-47 but it was Gomide who took over teaching Catunda's Mathematical Analysis course.
- Gomide undertook research for her doctorate, the topic being suggested by André Weil who left São Paulo in 1947.
- Although much advice came from André Weil and especially Jean Delsarte, it was in fact Omar Catunda who was officially Gomide's research advisor.
- Gomide's thesis was published in the Boletim da Sociedade de Matemática de São Paulo.
- After the award of her doctorate, Gomide went to Paris to undertake postdoctoral work.
- Even while she was Catunda's assistant, Gomide felt that she wanted to change the way that teaching was being done.
- When Gomide started to study mathematics this was how the lessons were structured.
- As head of mathematics at the University of São Paulo, Gomide worked so hard that it affected her social life.
- Gomide gave up research when she became head of mathematics but she did other work such as making translations.
- Gomide's influence on Brazilian mathematics was substantial.
- Gomide worked at the University of São Paulo from 1945 until her mandatory retirement in 1995.

Born 20 August 1925, São Paulo, Brazil. Died 26 October 2013, São Paulo, Brazil.

View full biography at MacTutor

Origin Brazil, Women

**O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive