expert at all the maths anyone knew how to teach her

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Senior Member
Katherine Johnson died on February 24th
She could hardly be unaware of it, when she had graduated from high school at 14 and college at 18, expert at all the maths anyone knew how to teach her

Hi, everyone
I was confused by the meaning of the bold phrase. "Anyone knew how to teach her all the math" looks weird.

Context: this sentence is taken from an obituary of Katherine Johnson, a black female mathematician working for NASA and making great contribution to various flight projects. When she was a pupil at high school, her brilliance at math had earned her special classes on analytic geometry--a subject in her school attended only by her, which played an important role for her later in helping NASA check the aerodynamic forces. Obscure as she was as a female mathematician working in NASA, she didn't find it bothered because she had too much business to take care of: raise the kids, tend her sick husband etc. In the twenty first century, her story entered the public domain. Barack Obama once presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom as well as a kiss, which was the greatest thrill to her.
  • Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Would you find it clearer if it said "...all the maths that anyone knew how to teach her"? The word "that" is omitted.
    She became an expert in every kind of mathematics that her teachers knew how to teach her.
    If there was any kind of math (Am.Eng.) or maths (Brit.Eng.) that she did not learn,
    it was only because her teachers didn't know how to teach it.


    Senior Member
    English English
    It just means that she was so good at maths that she was brilliant at anything anyone taught her at any time.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s an unusual phrase, but perfectly correct. Even at that tender age, she was already a mathematics expert — having mastered “all the maths [that] anyone knew how to teach her” (the implication being that teaching her was difficult because she was more intelligent than any of her teachers).
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