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Mary Somerville

Mary Somerville

Mary Somerville (1780-1872) was born in Jedburgh, the fifth child of William Fairfax, a Lieutenant in Nelson’s navy (later a Vice-Admiral), and his second wife, Margaret Charters. She attended a school in Musselburgh whose chief aim was to teach girls how to be gracious. Despite the obstacles that were put in her way she pursued her own interests in mathematics and the classics. In 1804 she married her cousin Samuel Greig, and they went to stay in London, but she left with two young children when her husband dies only three years later. She married another of her cousins in 1812, and moved to London: she continued her studies during this time, and was in her early forties when her scientific interests began to make their mark.

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