Google Doodle celebrates Scottish scientist Mary Somerville. Who was she?

Team Udayavani, Feb 2, 2020, 12:45 PM IST

Google honoured Scottish scientist Mary Somerville with a doodle on Sunday, February 2.

The Royal Society of London, the UK’s National Science Academy, on February 2, 1826, had read one of Somerville’s experimental physics papers.

It was the first paper by a woman author to be published in the Philosophical Transactions, which is the world’s oldest science publication.

Somerville was born in Scotland’s Jedburgh on December 26, 1790. During her childhood, she helped her mother with household chores apart from making the most of her time in the garden. She was sent to a boarding school by her father at the age of 10.

In school, Somerville learnt from her art teacher that the basics of painting could be traced back to Euclid’s Elements of Geometry. She read the book and also developed a keen interest in learning astronomy and mathematics. Furthermore, Somerville involved herself in research and subsequently, published her own scientific papers and books.

Her highly-acclaimed book The Mechanism of the Heavens was published in 1831. The Connection of the Physical Sciences, which was published in 1834, was listed among the best selling science books of the 19th century.

This apart, Somerville also advocated for equal rights and was the first person to sign the 1866 women’s suffrage petition.

Today’s Google Doodle, in honour of Mary Somerville, was created by Alyssa Winans.

Credit: India Today

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