Mary Somerville (1780-1872), after whom Somerville College Oxford was named, was the first woman scientist to win an international reputation entirely in her own right, rather than through association with a scientific brother or father.
She was active in astronomy, one of the most demanding areas of science of the day, and flourished in the unique British tradition of Grand Amateurs, who paid their own way and were not affiliated with any academic institution.
Mary Somerville was to science what Jane Austen was to literature and Frances Trollope to travel writing. Allan Chapman's vivid account brings to light the story of an exceptional woman, whose achievements in a field dominated by men deserve to be very widely known.
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From the book reviews:
“It could be easily read by all students, starting from approximately eighth grade and up. ... As the world still struggles to properly manage its female human resources, this is an important book for people of all genders to read. Somerville can serve as a role model for both genders, as she demonstrated the value of perseverance and dedication in the face of great resistance.” (Charles Ashbacher, MAA Reviews, February, 2015)From the Publisher:
Mary Somerville's contribution to science and to the emancipation of women is little known outside academia. This popular account by the world's leading authority on Mary Somerville will at last reveal her achievements to a very wide audience.
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