Though now described as a self-educated Scotswoman, I actually grew up uneducated as a "wild creature"...becoming passionate about algebra due to some symbolic puzzles in a woman's fashion magazine.
Because Laplace said I was the only person who understood his his five-volume treatise Mecanique Celeste, I was asked by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge to prepare an explanatory commentary on it.
Though now at the age of 50, I had never written for publication...but took on the task in secret.
In 1830, I produced the requested commentary, entitled The Mechanisms of Heaven...and it became one of the "essential" works in mathematics and astronomy.
I am now known as the "Queen of Nineteenth-Century Science" because I went on to produce other commentaries on the physical sciences, physical geography, and molecular/microscopic science (when I was 89!).
I was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1869, a co-inductee with Charles Darwin.
Up to my death at age 92, though deaf and frail, I continued to "read books on the higher algebra for four or five hours in the morning, and even to solve problems."
Mary Fairfax Somerville (1780-1872)