"Who shall declare the time allotted to the human race, when the generations of the most insignificant insect also existed for unnumbered ages? Yet man is also to vanish in the ever-changing course of events. The earth is to be burnt up, and the elements are to melt with fervent heat—to be again reduced to chaos—possibly to be renovated and adorned for other races of beings. These stupendous changes may be but cycles in those great laws of the universe, where all is variable but the laws themselves and He who has ordained them. "
Mary Somerville's life sounds like a forbidden love story. She did not get formal training until the age of ten and she struggled. And yet when she discovers algebra equations in a magazine, she takes an interest and studies it whenever she has a free moment. Her family does not approve of her pursuits and eventually she marries Greig who also does not believe women should be spending time on manly tasks. Three years into her marriage, her husband dies, she inherits the estate and she is now free, free to study what she wishes.
To put icing on that cake, she finds love, remarries, and along with Caroline Hershel, they become the first women to receive honorary membership to the Royal Astronomical Society. From my studies of her, I find she is known for interpreting and reviewing mathematical and scientific studies as a whole.
I love hearing stories of going against great odds. Granted some of it was luck and yet she still had to overcome so many prejudices. How many of us give up because it is just too hard. I'm so happy to be doing this blog, I'm feeling inspired this month.
This is a book written by Mary's daughter Martha - it reads as if Martha just copied the words that her mother told her: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/27747/27747-h/27747-h.htm
You need to scroll down to read this summary of Mary's life: http://chestofbooks.com/science/astronomy/Leisure-Hours/Mrs-Mary-Somerville.html#.UT9m_hyG2Ao
An article from Harvard university about Mary Somerville http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu//full/1996JBAA..106..201B/0000201.000.html