Mary Somerville and the world of science
As a woman Mary's options were severely limited - maybe we would have a Somerville's law if things had been otherwise, but Chapman points out the futility of 'What if?' As it was she played a very important part in encouraging the participation of women in science.
It is interesting to note that Mary's success, in particular as an author came later in life - she was over 50 when her first book was published and was still writing at 89
Chapman also looks at Mary's attitude to religion, showing how she could maintain a firm belief despite disagreeing with what many churchmen were saying