Mary Somerville, Scottish science writer

Mary Somerville, Scottish science writer

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mary Somerville (1780-1872), Scottish science writer. She studied mathematics and astronomy in London, making the acquaintance of many of the leading scientists of the time. In 1831 she published a translation and popularisation of Laplace's Mecanique Celeste, under the title The Mechanism of the Heavens. This made her famous, and in 1835 she and Caroline Herschel were the first two women to become members of the Royal Astronomical Society. From 1838, she spent much of the rest of her life in Italy. Somerville College, at Oxford University, is named for her.

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