The Ascent of Mary Somerville in 19th Century Society

Elisabetta Strickland

“This biography details the life and work of Mary Fairfax Somerville, a remarkable mathematician whose abilities were only brought to light due to a series of fortunate events. As a child, she received very little instruction in reading and writing, and she learned and perfected all of her scientific knowledge on her own. The author of this delightful account takes on the challenge of discovering how Somerville came to be one of the most accomplished British women scientists and, in addition, a well-known author. Somerville’s achievement in what was, to put it mildly, a predominantly male field is analyzed with a specific focus on the gender dynamics that played a role in her success.”