Having taken many liberties with her overall appearance, Disney created the image many of us believe to be what Pocahontas may have looked like. This is far from accurate. Though the film’s history is similarly flawed, it does hold some truths. Pocahontas was a Native American woman who married an Englishman called John Rolfe and became a celebrity in London in the last year of her life. She was a daughter of Wahunsunacock (also known as Chief or Emperor Powhatan), who presided over an area comprised of almost all of the neighboring tribes in Virginia (called Tenakomakah then). Her formal names were Matoaka and Amonute; ‘Pocahontas’ was a childhood nickname referring to her frolicsome nature. In her last days she went by Rebecca Rolfe, choosing to live an English life by abandoning her Native American heritage.
So much mathematics exists now—one scholar estimates that a million pages of new mathematical ideas are published each year—that when scientists face problems not solvable with math they know, they can often turn to another variety for help. When Einstein began work on his theory of general relativity, he needed a mathematics that could describe what he was proposing—that space is curved. He found it in the non-Euclidean geometry of 19th-century mathematician Georg F. B. Riemann, which provided just the tool he required: a geometry of curved spaces in any number of dimensions.