The Ascent of Mary Somerville in Nineteenth Century Society
The Ascent of Mary Somerville in 19th Century Society
Elisabetta Strickland - Department of Mathematics, University of Rome “Tor Vergata” (GIO, Gender Interuniversity Observatory, Italy)
Thursday 6 JULY - 5 p.m. - Booking recommended (firstname.lastname@example.org/ 06 678 42 35)
It is an astonishing experience to go back in time and explore the world where study and research for women were forbidden by law. The fascinating life of the Scottish scientist and popular writer Mary Fairfax Somerville (1780-1872) takes us back to this past and, at the same time, describes the fight of one great dame for equal rights and opportunities for women. Her fight was not political, inasmuch she did not try to influence public opinion with her words or actions, but by conquering respect from the scientific world. Her extraordinary mathematical talent only came to light through fortuitous circumstances. Barely educated as a child, all the science she learned and mastered was self taught. By giving this example of scientific competence, she backed the struggle towards education opportunities for women that lead to their access to schools. The Somerville College in Oxford was named in her honor in 1879 and produced famous graduates such as Vera Brittain, Dorothy Hodgkin, Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher.
Elisabetta STRICKLAND is Full Professor of Algebra at the Department of Mathematics of the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”. She was Vice-President of the National Institute of Advanced Mathematics (INdAM) from 2007 to 2015. Since 2014 she has been a member of the Women in Mathematics Committee (WIM) of the European Mathematical Society. She is also a co-founder of the Gender Interuniversity Observatory GIO over the state Universities in Rome. Since 2016 she has been Ambassador to Italy in the Committee of Women in Mathematics (CWM) of the International Mathematical Union. In 2013 she was awarded as one of the 'Excellent Women in Rome' by the Capitoline Administration.