Julia Robinson was born on December 8, 1919 in St. Louis, Missouri. Julia’s mother died two years after she was born, causing both Julia and her older sister to move to Arizona with their Grandmother.
A year later her father remarried then they all moved to San Diego. When Julia was nine years old she became sick with Scarlet fever. Her family as a result was kept in quarantine for a month. After she was healed of Scarlet fever she developed Rheumatic fever and was bedridden for a year.
When Julia was well again she worked with a tutor to go over the curriculum that she missed while sick. That is when she first found her interest for mathematics. Her interest grew in high school, she graduated at fifteen with honors in mathematics and science. For a reward her parents gave her a slide rule she named “slippy.
” Julia enrolled to San Diego State college a sixteen. Her major was mathematics and planned on being a teacher because she thought there were no other careers in math. In the beginning of her sophomore year her father, who was depressed, committed suicide. Her senior year she transferred to the University of California, Berkeley where she graduated in 1940. In 1941 she married Raphael Robinson, at the time she was a teaching assistant at Berkeley. Julia was only allowed to be a teaching assistant for one year because of a new rule that did not allow her to work in a mathematics department, instead she went and worked in the Berkeley Statistical Laboratory on Military projects. When Julia had Rheumatic fever it damaged her heart and resulted in a miscarriage, and she was ever able to have children.
After she found out she was never going to be a mother she was depressed for a long period of time, until her husband convinced her to go back to mathematics. In 1947 she started her doctoral program with the help of Alfred Tarski. She solved the tenth problem on Hilbert’s list that was supposed to be unsolvable and got no solution. For the next twenty two years Julia looked at different aspects of the problem which helped build a foundation for Yuri Matijasevic which proved in 1970 that the general method used for solving equations does not exist. While she was working for the RAND corporation she found a solution for Finite two-person zero-sum game. Her only contribution to the game is still considered a fundamental in the field of mathematics today.
Julia’s heart was still damaged and she had to get surgery on it in 1961, but i did not help much. In 1971 she became a full time professor at Berkeley. Julia got Leukemia and died on July 30, 1985.