Marie Somerville (born Fairfack, formerly Greig; 26 December 1780 – 29 November 1872) was a Scottish science writer and polymath. She studied mathematics and astronomy and was nominated for a community with the first female member of the Royal Astronomical Society at the same time as Caroline Herschel.
When John Stuart Mill, a philosopher and economist, organized a massive petition to Parliament to give women the right to vote, he had Somerville put her signature first on the petition.
When she died in 1872, the Morning Post stated in her obituary that “Whatever difficulties we may have in the mid-nineteenth century in choosing the king of science, there can be no question of a queen of science.”
Somerville College, a college of the University of Oxford, is named after her, reflecting the virtues of liberalism and the academic success that the college wanted to embody. It is presented on the front of the polymer of the Royal Bank of Scotland of 10 pounds, launched in 2017, together with a quote from her work The Connection of Physical Sciences.
Sonja (Sofia) Krukovski Kovaljevska was an excellent mathematician, writer and one of the greatest fighters for women’s rights in the 19th century.
She discovered mathematics at a very young age. She claimed that she studied her father’s notes well, which she pasted on the wall of her room instead of wallpaper. She also pays tribute to her uncle Peter, who, as she claims, stimulated her curiosity about mathematics. When she was 14, she learned trigonometry on her own in order to better understand the book on physics she was reading at the time. The author of that book, her neighbor, was impressed by this act and convinced Sonja’s father to allow her to go to Petersburg and continue her education there.
After finishing high school, Sonja was determined to raise her education to the university level. However, the nearest university was also open to women in Switzerland, and young and unmarried women were not allowed to travel alone. In order to overcome this obstacle, Sonja married Vladimir Kovaljevski in September 1868. The couple stayed in St. Petersburg for several months and then traveled to Heidelberg, where Sonja first attracted attention. People were interested in the quiet Russian woman with extraordinary academic success.
In 1870, Sonja decided to continue her studies with Karl Weierstrass, who taught at the University of Berlin. Weierstrass was already considered the most distinguished mathematician of his time, but at first he did not take Sonja seriously. Only when she solved the mathematical problems he gave her did he realize that there was a genius in front of him. He immediately decided to teach her privately because women were not allowed to study at that university. He taught her for four years.
In June 1874, Sonja received her doctorate from the University of Göttingen, but despite such a prestigious title and the help of Professor Weierstrass, she failed to get a job. She returned to Palabino with her husband, to her family. Shortly after her return, her father passed away. During this period of grief and closeness due to the loss, Sonja and Vladimir finally fell in love with each other and from that love a daughter was born. During this stay at home, Sonja completely neglected mathematics. Then she tried her hand at literature, writing stories, theater reviews and scientific articles for newspapers.
Mary Mitchell Slessor (December 2, 1848 – January 13, 1915) was a Scottish missionary in Nigeria. Her work and strong character contributed to her being accepted by the locals as she spread Christianity, protected indigenous children and promoted women’s rights. She stopped killing twins among members of the Efik people (an ethnic group from Nigeria).
Caroline Lucretia Herschel (16 March 1750 – 9 January 1848) was a German astronomer whose most significant contribution to astronomy was the discovery of several comets, including the periodic comet 35P / Herschel – Rigollet, which bears her name. She was the younger sister of astronomer William Herschel, with whom she worked throughout her career.
She was the first woman to receive a salary as a scientist. She was the first woman in England to hold a government position. She was the first woman to publish scientific knowledge in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, which was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1828) and named an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society (1835, with Marie Somerville). She was also appointed an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy (1838). The King of Prussia was presented with a gold medal for science on the occasion of her 96th birthday (1846).
Maria Salomea Sklodowska-Curie Warsaw (November 7, 1867 – Salanche, July 4, 1934) was a French physicist and chemist of Polish descent. She had French and Polish citizenship. She spent most of her life in France, where she began her scientific career. She did research in chemistry and physics. His wife is Pierre Curie, and the mother of Eva Curie and Irene Joliot Curie.
Her greatest achievements include: work on the theory of radioactivity, techniques for the separation of radioactive isotopes, as well as the discovery of two new chemical elements – radium and polonium. Under her personal supervision, the world’s first research on the possibility of curing cancer with radioactivity was conducted. He is one of the founders of a new branch of chemistry – radiochemistry.
She was a two-time Nobel Prize winner, for the first time in 1903, in physics, together with her husband Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel, for scientific achievements in testing radioactivity, and for the second time in 1911 in chemistry, for extracting elemental radon. To this day, she remains the only woman to have won the Nobel Prize twice.