Two women wor­thy of grac­ing £50 note

The Guardian - Journal - - Letters -

With re­gard to who should ap­pear on the new £50 note (Ed­i­to­rial, 6 Novem­ber), may I sug­gest Mary Somerville (1780-1872), a self-taught math­e­ma­ti­cian and poly­math, an early cam­paigner for women’s rights and the vote. Her book On the Con­nex­ion of the Phys­i­cal Sciences be­came one of the best­selling sci­ence books of the 19th cen­tury. The word sci­en­tist was first used in a re­view of her book.

There is also Caro­line Her­schel (1750-1848), who was with her bet­ter known brother William when he dis­cov­ered Uranus. She be­came the world’s first pro­fes­sional as­tronomer, with her salary pro­vided by King Ge­orge III. Fol­low­ing the pro­duc­tion of a cat­a­logue of as­tro­nom­i­cal neb­u­lae, she be­came the first woman to be awarded the Royal As­tro­nom­i­cal So­ci­ety’s gold medal in 1828.

Ger­ard Gil­li­gan

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