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Whipple Library

Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Somerville Connexion frontispiece    Somerville Connexion title page     

On the connexion of the physical sciences, by Mary Somerville
2nd edition
London : J. Murray, 1835
STORE 32:9


Somerville To the queen

Celebrated scientist and author Mary Fairfax Somerville (1780-1872) first published this work in 1834. Topics included astronomy, optics, electricity, matter, heat and magnetism, but her focus was on the connections she recognised between the different branches of the physical sciences. Writing primarily for fellow women, she wanted to make these connections explicit in language understandable to an educated reader. She used scientific vocabulary but confined mathematical formulae to the notes, and was careful to present both sides of controversial arguments.

The book met with great success and is recognised as a scientific classic. Somerville was well respected among the scientific community, although as a woman she was ineligible to become a fellow of the Royal Society. At her death, the London Post hailed her as ‘The Queen of Nineteenth-Century Science.’








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