Conclusion: A Career in Retrospect

Part of the SpringerBriefs in History of Science and Technology book series (BRIEFSHIST)


Would Mary Somerville have achieved more, and gone on to make major scientific discoveries, had she been able to go to university, hold down a job, and become the Professorial Director of some research institute? Richard Anthony Proctor, her Royal Astronomical Society obituarist in 1872, lamented that the social proprieties of her day had made it impossible for Mary to really achieve her potential as a planetary dynamicist, while Dr. Mary Brück, in her excellent and perceptive biographical article, styled her a ‘mathematician and astronomer of underused talents.


  1. 1.
    Richard, A. P., (1873). Mary Somerville, Obituary Notice. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 33, 190–197.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mary, B., (1996). Mary Somerville, mathematician and astronomer of underused talents. Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 106, 4, 201–206.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Elizabeth, B., (1899). F.R. Met. Soc.’, obituary. Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 9, 5, 214–15.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chapman, A., (1998) The Victorian Amateur Astronomer. Independent Astronomical Research in Britain, 1820–1920 (pp. 280–293). Chichester, New York: Praxis-Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of HistoryWadham CollegeOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations