DR. T. V. PADMA
Although well recognised by her male colleagues, Somerville did face some amount of discrimination. But this only gave her an opening to fight for women's rights.In 1835, Mary was elected member of the Royal Astronomical Society (along with Caroline Herschel), becoming one of the first two women to receive this honour. The King of England decided to grant her a pension of 200 pounds a year. Spurred by her success, Mary completed three other major works: Connection of the Physical Sciences, Physical Geography, and Molecular and Microscopic Science. She was 89 when she completed her fourth book. She was well recognised by her male colleagues. Once, Sir John Herschel wrote to ask her to try out a powerful new telescope that an Italian colleague, DeVico, was using. Clearly, he valued Mary's judgement more than that of any male colleague. Although Mary was the most qualified person to judge DeVico's claims, she was unable to do so. Her gender hindered her. As a woman, she was forbidden to enter the monastery, the Collegio Romano, where the instrument was housed.
Till the endThe discrimination Mary suffered opened her eyes to the causes of others. She refused to use sugar in her tea during the American Civil War, in order to protest slavery, because sugar was a result of slave labour. After the American Civil War, when emancipated male slaves were technically allowed to vote, a right still denied to women, Mary became an ardent supporter of women's rights. She passed away peacefully, in her sleep, in Naples, Italy, in 1872. Until the time of her death, she continued to work on mathematics. After her death at the age of 92, Somerville College at Oxford University was named in her honour.