I specialise in history of mathematics with particular interests in translations of mathematics, the effects of gender on access to knowledge and the circulation of analysis in 19th-century Britain. I am a Departmental Lecturer in the History of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, and an Associate Lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at The Open University.
Gender and domesticity in the making of mathematical careers
Circulation of mathematical knowledge
My doctoral research explored how Mary Somerville – as an upper-class woman – accessed mathematical knowledge and communities, and what it meant for her to be described as a mathematician. I am currently working on a joint project with David Dunning, looking at collaborative couples in mathematics in order to understand the roles of gender and domesticity in the making of mathematical careers.
In 1831, with the publication of her translation of Laplace's Mécanique Céleste, Mary Somerville (1780–1872) solidified her reputation as a highly proficient mathematician. To shed light on her preliminary studies, we here examine Somerville's solutions to questions posed in the New Series of the Mathematical Repository alongside contemporary correspondence with mathematicians John and William Wallace. Together, these demonstrate her active engagement in the circulation of the differential calculus twenty years earlier than previously appreciated.