(Aug. 12) -- Aug. 13 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Florence Nightingale, considered to be the founder of modern professional nursing.
But as famous as the "Lady with the Lamp" remains for the many pioneering achievements she made in the field of nursing, there's something else about Nightingale that few realize.
She was a world-class math whiz.
Caroline Worthington, director at London's Florence Nightingale Museum, revealed that visitors are stunned to learn about Nightingale's monumental achievement when it came to numbers.
"I always take great pleasure in surprising people with her interest in mathematics," Worthington said. "Of course, we like to say that she devised her own version of the pie chart in her 'coxcombs' (the book which contained her diagrams), which show the predominance of disease as a cause of mortality in the British army during the Crimean War. Her work using statistics led to her becoming the first woman elected as fellow of the Statistical Society in 1860."
She also later became an honorary member of the American Statistical Association.
Today, credited with developing a form of the pie chart known as the "polar area diagram," Nightingale is revered and respected in math circles for her breakthroughs in the fields of statistics and statistical analysis.
For being an innovator in the collection, interpretation and presentation of descriptive statistics, Karl Pearson (who established the discipline of mathematical statistics) cited Nightingale as a "prophetess" in the development of applied statistics.
Worthington pointed out another interesting fact about Nightingale, one that perhaps even trumps the math.
"The biggest misconception is that she was a nurse. In fact, the work she carried out in the Crimea was administrative. She organized supplies, the stores, work for the nurses she took with her, but the amount of nursing as we know it was really very little."
The Florence Nightingale Museum (located in the grounds of St. Thomas' Hospital in London) has some big plans for the centenary year of Nightingale's death.
They've commissioned a unique audio tour through London that will lead listeners to significant places related to Nightingale, including the house where she died on Aug. 13, 1910.
The tour includes the rooms she called the "Little War Office," where she first began the movement to investigate the British army's health, as well as commentary from several Nightingale experts.
You can check out the downloadable audio tour journey starting Aug. 13 on the museum's web site.