Mary Somerville and the World of Science by Allan Chapman

By Allan Chapman

Mary Somerville (1780-1872), after whom Somerville university Oxford was once named, was once the 1st lady scientist to win a world recognition fullyyt in her personal correct, instead of via organization with a systematic brother or father.

She was once energetic in astronomy, essentially the most tough components of technology of the day, and flourished within the specific British culture of Grand Amateurs, who paid their very own method and weren't affiliated with any educational institution.

Mary Somerville used to be to technological know-how what Jane Austen was once to literature and Frances Trollope to shuttle writing. Allan Chapman’s brilliant account brings to mild the tale of an outstanding girl, whose achievements in a box ruled through males need to be very broadly known.

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This went on ‘till about two in the morning’, when the group noticed a light still burning at the window of Dr. Thomas Young’s house nearby. Dr. Somerville rang the doorbell, and when Young, wearing his dressing gown, answered it, he invited the party in, and proceeded to show them a piece of Egyptian papyrus which seemed to have a Ptolemaic horoscope drawn upon it, and in which he was in the process of translating. In addition to his work as the physicist who established the key experimental proofs for the wave theory of light, and serving as Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Royal Institution, Thomas Young made significant contributions to the decipherment of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic language.

5], 215. 14 For Lord Rosse’s discoveries, see Patrick Moore, The Astronomy of Birr Castle (Birr 1981). For the twenty-six private observatories, see Mary Somerville, Personal Recollections [n. 5], 270. Indeed, these twenty-six would include only the major private research observatories, for in its 10 38 3 The Domain of Nature: Astronomy, Optics and Geology Fig. 3 The globular star cluster Messier 13, in the constellation Hercules. Astronomers were fascinated by this and similar dense star clusters, and correctly surmised that their formation was due to dense gravitational attraction.

1). By the 1820s Mary was winning attention due to her obvious genius for higher mathematics. In addition to William and John Wallace, she was also encouraged by Professor John Playfair of Edinburgh, Dr. Thomas Young and Sir John Herschel in London, and the influential Henry, later Lord Henry, Brougham. 2 Early Life, Career and Friends … 21 Brougham was an Edinburgh lawyer whose talent was rivalled only by his eccentricity and ambition. In the highest traditions of the Scottish Enlightenment, he was interested in all branches of humane learning, and was one of the leading reform politicians of the day.

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