Mary Somerville (1780-1872)
Queen of Science
Mary Somerville, although she did not make any new discoveries, was one of the great popular science and mathematics writers of the 19th century. She was one of the first women to become an honorary member of The Royal Astronomical Society and Somerville College at Oxford University was named in her honour.
These achievements are even more remarkable as she had, as a child, limited formal education. Her father did not approve of her being educated and banned her from using their stock of candles to read mathematical works in bed.
Even into old age Somerville retained a sharp mind and keen interest in scientific developments. She knew the great scientists of her time and corresponded with many of them.
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NRA Name: Somerville, Mary (1780-1872), science writer and mathematics expositor.
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