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Julia Robinson American mathematician

Julia Robinson: Woman Who Solved Hilbert’s Tenth Problem

Julia Hall Bowman Robinson was known for her work in decision problems, and especially for Hilbert’s tenth problem. Julia Robinson was also an American mathematician.

Time and Place of birth

Julia Hall Bowman Robinson was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, the U.S. on 18 December 1919.

Early life

In her childhood after moving from Arizona to San Diego from 1932-33, she was at the Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School and then Julia Robinson went to San Diego high, and in the year 1936 entered the University of San Diego then she wasn’t satisfied with the mathematics syllabus and shifted to the University of California in Berkeley as a senior. At the same time during 1937, his father committed suicide due to finical crises.

In the year 1940, he received her degree in Bachelor’s of Arts and in the year 1941 got married to Raphael. Robinson completed her Ph.D. and received the degree in 1948.


At the time before her marriage, she was working at Berkeley as a teacher assistant but after Julia Robinson got married she wasn’t allowed to work as the family members weren’t permitted to work in the same department.
Robinson instead worked at the statistics department but her interest was always in teaching calculus. In the year 1973, when Robinson’s husband Raphael retired, at that time in the year 1976 she was provided with a full-time professorship.

Education and Career

Julia Robinson first went to the Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School and then to San Diego high and then for her bachelor’s studies joined the University of San Diego but changed the university due to unsatisfied syllabus and entered the University of California and completed her Bachelor’s of Arts degree and then also completed Ph.D. in the year 1948.
While in her career life she was a teacher assistant at Berkeley but had to change her department of teaching to statistics. In the year 1948, she was awarded Doctorate.

A famous mathematician who was a great musician also.

Interesting facts

  • At the National Academy of Science, Julia Robinson was the first female mathematician to get elected.
  • Julia Robinson was the first female president at the American Mathematical Society.
  • As the first female mathematician Julia Robinson received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Also read: A Boichemist who revolutionized DNA Research.


Julia Robinson was always patient as a person and that’s the reason that served her so well in mathematics, Robinson never thought of herself as a brilliant person rather just worked on her discoveries with all her patients.

Contribution in Mathematics

Julia Robinson’s contribution to many important mathematical works is remembered to date, as she solved Hilbert’s tenth problem, the most important one, she also contributed to the solvability and unsolvability in algorithmic mathematics problems.

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Hilbert’s Tenth Problem

Hilbert’s tenth problem is the major work of Robinson and she, worked on this problem with the collaboration of Yuri Matiyasevich, this work included that whether a general algorithm where a polynomial equation with integer figure and a finite of unknown numbers, can decide whether the equation can be solved with all unknowns taking integer values.

This problem was solved and it was discovered as negative because such a general algorithm does not exist. This problem was completed in the year 1970 by Matiyasevich after the death of Julia Robinson and he mentioned in one of his articles that without the contribution of Julia Robinson this problem wouldn’t be solved.

Political work

In the local Democratic party activities, Julia Robinson was a part of it in the early 1950s. Robinson was a manager at Alan Cranston’s, the first political office in the Costa Country. Julia was a volunteer as well at the presidential campaigns for Adlai Stevenson’s.

Awards achieved

  • Noether Lecture
  • MacArthur Fellowship Foundation

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Books published

Robinson published: The collected works of Julia Robinson.


At the age of 65, Julia Robinson died on 30 July 1985, Oakland, California, United States. Robinson was suffering from leukemia in 1984.


It was very appropriate. I couldn’t imagine how we could be shut out of our rights to a referendum because of a mistake in the minutes. It just seems unfair and inappropriate.

I like to think of mathematicians as forming a nation of our own without distinctions of geographical origin, race, creed, sex, age, or even time.

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What age did Julia Robinson die?

Julia Robinson died at the age of 65 years (1919–1985).

Where did Julia Robinson die?

Julia Robinson died in Oakland, California, the U.S.

How did Julia Robinson contribute to the world?

Julia Robinson contributed to much important mathematics works the most famous was the solution of Hilbert’s Tenth Problem, and the contributed to the decision problem, solvability, and unsolvability of algorithm problems, etc.

What awards did Robinson win?

Julia Robinson won the Noether lecture and the MacArthur fellowship awards.


Julia Robinson was a woman who focused on being patient and not showing off her brilliance, a woman who contributed to mathematics in so many important works and is remembered for her works. Robinson also said that she wanted to be remembered by only one of the mathematicians who solved problems, and proved theorems and not by the first woman in this or that.

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