Mary Somerville was a Scottish scientist, writer, and polymath.
58 Facts About Mary Somerville
Mary Somerville studied mathematics and astronomy, and in 1835 she and Caroline Herschel were elected as the first female Honorary Members of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Mary Somerville was born at the manse of Jedburgh, the home of her maternal aunt and the Rev Dr Thomas Somerville.
Mary Somerville was the second of four surviving children.
Mary Somerville was particularly close to her oldest brother Sam.
Mary Somerville's mother supplemented the household's income by growing vegetables, maintaining an orchard and keeping cows for milk.
Mary Somerville's mother taught her to read the Bible and Calvinist catechisms.
When her household chores were done Mary Somerville was free to roam among the birds and flowers in the garden.
Ten-year-old Mary Somerville was then sent to an expensive boarding school in Musselburgh, where she learned the first principles of writing, rudimentary French and English grammar.
Mary Somerville gathered her courage to tell him that she had been learning Latin.
Dr Mary Somerville assured her that in earlier times many women had become elegant scholars.
Mary Somerville then proceeded to enable her to improve her Latin by reading Virgil with her.
Mary Somerville accompanied her uncle and aunt on their visits to the Lyell family in Kinnordy; Charles Lyell later became a celebrated geologist and Somerville's friend.
At Burntisland, where she stayed the summer with her uncle and aunt, Mary Somerville had access to elementary books on algebra and geometry.
Mary Somerville spent the summer learning to play the piano.
When Nasmyth advised another student to study Euclid's Elements to gain a foundation in perspective, astronomy and mechanical science, Mary Somerville spotted an opportunity.
Mary Somerville thought the book would help her understand Navigations by John Robertson.
Mary Somerville continued in the traditional role of a daughter in a well-connected family, attending social events and maintaining a sweet and polite manner, which led to her nickname as "the Rose of Jedburgh" among Edinburgh socialites.
The tutor, Mr Craw, was a Greek and Latin scholar, and Mary Somerville asked him to purchase elementary books on algebra and geometry for her.
Mary Somerville presented Somerville with Euclid's Elements and Algebra by John Bonnycastle.
Mary Somerville would rise early to play the piano, painted during the day, and stayed up late to study Euclid and algebra.
When Lord Balmuto, a family friend, invited her to visit his family Mary Somerville saw her first laboratory.
Mary Somerville spent some time with the Oswalds family in Dunnikeir, whose daughter, a bold horsewoman who impressed Somerville, became a Greek and Latin scholar and married Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin.
Mary Somerville's father was knighted and made Colonel of Marines.
In 1804 Mary Somerville met her first husband, Lieutenant Samuel Greig.
Mary Somerville's husband did not think much of women's intellectual capacity.
Mary Somerville began solving mathematical problems posed in the mathematical journal of the Military College at Marlow and eventually made a name for herself after solving a diophantine problem, for which she was awarded a silver medal in 1811.
Mary Somerville published five solutions in Volumes 3 and 4 of the Mathematical Repository under the pseudonym 'A Lady'.
Mary Somerville said that studying Laplace's work gave her the confidence to persevere in her mathematical studies.
Mary Somerville extended her studies to astronomy, chemistry, geography, microscopy, electricity and magnetism.
Mary Somerville encouraged and aided her in the study of the physical sciences.
Mary Somerville was well known to scientists, as well as to leading writers and artists.
In 1819 Mary Somerville's husband was appointed physician to Chelsea Hospital and the family moved into a government house at Hanover Square, Chelsea.
Mary Somerville was a friend of Anne Isabella Milbanke, Baroness Wentworth, and was mathematics tutor to her daughter, Ada Lovelace.
Mary Somerville College owns a letter from Babbage to Mary Somerville inviting her to view his 'Calculating Engine'.
Mary Somerville frequently visited Babbage while he was "making his Calculating-machines".
Mary Somerville conducted experiments to explore the relationship between light and magnetism.
Mary Somerville later developed her technique by using an optical prism and vegetable dyes, producing an early version of the optical spectrometer.
Lord Brougham asked Mary Somerville to translate the Mecanique Celeste of Pierre-Simon Laplace for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.
Mary Somerville produced not just a translation, but an expanded version of the first two volumes.
Mary Somerville wrote a standalone exposition of the mathematics behind the workings of the Solar System, of which she said "I translated Laplace's work from algebra into common language".
Reviews were favourable and Mary Somerville received letters of congratulation from "many men of science".
Mary Somerville was elected honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy, the Bristol Philosophical Institution, and the Societe de Physique et d'Histoire Naturelle de Geneve in 1834.
Mary Somerville was passionate about astronomy and believed it to be the most extensive example of the connection of the physical sciences in that it combined the sciences of number and quantity, of rest and motion.
Mary Somerville was among those who discussed a hypothetical planet perturbing Uranus.
Mary Somerville goes on to discuss the elements that govern temperature, such as light, electricity, storms, the aurora and magnetism.
Mary Somerville ends the book with a discussion of "the distribution, condition, and future prospects of the human race".
Mary Somerville emphasises the reciprocal dependencies in physical geography and the relationship between human beings and nature.
In line with Victorian thinking, Mary Somerville asserts the superiority of human beings, but maintains the interdependencies and interconnectedness of creation.
Mary Somerville 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 maintained correspondence with a large number of leading scientists and remained engaged in current debates on facts and theories.
Mary Somerville died at Naples on 29 November 1872, and was buried there in the English Cemetery.
The Mary Somerville Club was founded in 1878 in London, by 1887 it was re-established as the New Mary Somerville Club, and it disappeared by 1908.
The vessel Mary Somerville was launched in 1835 at Liverpool.
Mary Somerville is featured in miniature in The English Bijou Almanack, 1837, with poetry by Letitia Elizabeth Landon.
Mary Somerville crater is a small lunar crater in the eastern part of the Moon.
On 1 April 2022, a satellite named after Mary Somerville was launched into space as part of the Satellogic Aleph-1 satellite constellation.
Mary Somerville's two surviving daughters spent most of their lives caring for Mary.