Mary Somerville was a British Science writer and also Polymath. She studied mathematics and was the first female member who was jointly nominated as a member of the Royal Astronomical Society and at the same time as Caroline Herschel.
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Mary Somerville Biography
Mary Somerville was born in Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland on December 26th, 1780. She was a British science writer. Mary had a minimal education when she was a child. Her mother only thought her how to read but not writing. She at the age of 10 attended a boarding school for girls for one year in Mussel burgh of Scotland. Mary began to study at herself from the family Library She was encouraged by only her uncle “Thomas Somerville he helped her with Latin.
Mary Somerville Career
Henry Brougham her Lawyer asked her to prepare for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. That makes good books available at low prices to the working class. Somerville conducted experiments to explore the relationship between light and magnetism and she published her first paper, “The magnetic properties of the violet rays of the solar spectrum”, in the Proceedings of the Royal Society in 1826. Sir David Brewster, the inventor of the Kaleidoscope, wrote in 1829 that Mary Somerville was “certainly the most extraordinary woman in Europe – a mathematician of the very first rank with all the gentleness of a woman”. Her fourth book Molecular and Microscopic Science was published in 1869 and had taken her 10 years to write. But she started to have doubts about her choice to devote herself to popularizing science, instead of concentrating on mathematics alone.
Of the book, she said: “In writing this book I made a great mistake, and repent it Mathematics is the natural bent of my mind. If I had devoted myself exclusively to that study, I might probably have written something useful, as a new era had begun in that science.” Regardless, the book was another success. It gave an up-to-date description of the latest discoveries revealed through the Microscope and was published in two volumes and three parts.
In the first part Somerville explained the latest thinking on atoms and molecules, the second part covered plant life and the third part explored animal life. The book included 180 illustrations, which caused her publisher great expense. She was elected to the American Geographical and Statistical Society in 1857 and the Italian Geographical Society in 1870 and was made a member of the American Philosophical Society.
Mary Somerville Personal Life
She1st married her cousin Samuel Greig in the year 1804 who was a captain in the Russian navy and the Russian consul in London he had a very low opinion on women’s education. After his death in 1807, she married her another cousin William Somerville in 1812. He encouraged her to study. Mary Somerville’s children’s names are Woronzow Greig and Martha Charters, Somerville.
Mary Somerville Death
She died on 29 November 1872 in Naples Italy.