Mary Somerville: Science, Illumination, and the Female Mind

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, 2001 M10 22 - 263 pages
In an era when science was perceived as a male domain, Mary Somerville (1780-1872) became both the leading woman scientist of her day and an integral part of the British scientific community. Her scientific writings contributed to one of the most important cultural projects of Victorian Britain: establishing science as a distinct, integral, and unifying element of culture. By the time of her death, Somerville had achieved near-mythic status in Britain. Her works reflect both the power of science to capture imagination and the influence of cultural factors in the development of science. They provide a window into a particularly lucid and illuminated mind and into one of the most formative periods in the evolution of modern scientific culture. This retelling of Somerville's story focuses on the factors that allowed her to become an eminent scientist and argues for rethinking the story of women's participation in science.


Perceiving What Others Do Not Perceive The Peculiar Illumination of the Female Mind
Head among the Stars Feet Firm upon the Earth The Problem of Categorizing Mary Somerville
Creating a Room of Her Own in the World of Science How Mary Fairfax Became the Famous Mrs Somerville
Science as Exact Calculation and Elevated Meditation Mechanism of the Heavens 1831 Preliminary Dissertation 1832 and On the Connexion of the P...
The Earth the Sea the Air and Their Inhabitants Physical Geography 1848 and On Molecular and Microscopic Science 1869
Mary Somerville on Mary Somerville Personal Recollections 1873
Memory and Mary Somerville In the Public Eye and Historical Memory
Science Voice and Vision
Selected Bibliography

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information