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Mary Somerville

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Mollie Stevenson

on 19 November 2012

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Transcript of Mary Somerville

By Mollie Stevenson Mary Somerville Mary Somerville Who was Mary Somerville? How Mary Became Into Maths Discovering Algebra Marriage What Did She Do? Mary Somerville invented the mathematical algebraic variables. In algebra we use letters (variables) to represent numbers that correspond to different amounts. For example "n" is often used to represent an unknown quantity or number. Thank You! Thank you for listening to my
presentation on Mary Somerville
I hope you enjoyed it! Mary Fairfax Somerville was a Scottish mathematician who discovered the mathematical algebraic variables. She was born on the 26th December 1780 in Jedburgh. She was the daughter of Margaret Charters and Lieutenant William George Fairfax, a vice admiral in the British Navy. With her father working out at sea for long periods of time and her mother applying few restraints; Mary was, in her own words "allowed to grow up a wild creature". Despite the great state the family were in economically, Mary's education was; like any other girls in that time, quite bare and haphazard. Her only full year of schooling was when she attended
an all girls boarding school in Mussleburgh. Soon her Mother
rented a flat in Edinburgh during the winter months, Mary
was then briefly enrolled in a writing school there where
she studied her first arithmetic (or sums) at
the age of thirteen.
Also at this age she quite accidentally started her study of Algebra, when she found some confusing symbols in her reading of a women's fashion magazine and asked her brothers tutor to find some simple books that could help her in the subject. In 1804, at the age of twenty four, Mary married her cousin, Captain Samuel Greig ( a member of the Russian Navy). Her husband had no interest in maths like his wife did and wasn't very enthusiastic about the fact she was educated. However they did have two children who they named Woronzow and William George.
Sadly Samuel died in 1807 at only three years of marriage. But in
1812 Mary married her other cousin Dr. William Somerville, a
surgeon in the british Navy, who was quite interested in
Mary's work.
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