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Mary Somerville, Scottish Polymath
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Mary Fairfax Somerville (December 26, 1780 - November 28, 1872) was a Scottish science writer and polymath, at a time when women's participation in science was discouraged. She studied mathematics and astronomy. Requested by Lord Brougham to translate for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge the Mécanique Céleste of Laplace, she greatly popularized its form, and its publication in 1831, under the title of The Mechanism of the Heavens, at once made her famous. Her other works are the On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1834), Physical Geography (1848), and Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869). In 1835, she and Caroline Herschel became the first women members of the Royal Astronomical Society. From 1835 she received a pension of 300 pound sterling from the government. In 1869 she was awarded the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. She died in 1872 at the age of 91.
June 2nd, 2013
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