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Her Scientific Endeavors

               Margaret Cavendish loved not only literature, but science and the          nature of life as well. During the time before the restoration, she          received informal lessons in science from both her husband and her          brother-in-law, Charles. Both men were at the coenter of a group of          "atomists" philosophers including René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes          and Walter Charleton. As a result, Margaret was exposed to their          philosophies, and she was often found openly disagreeing with them.          Yet, Margaret did not start writing about anything overly scientific          until 1652.

               Her scientific beliefs are ones of the world being a unified,          cooperative system, in which dissention causes illness, earthquakes, and          death. Margaret also believed that atoms were closely related to health,          and this could be what stemmed her scientific interest in medecine.          Margaret often treated herself for her ailments, and this self-doctoring          may have led to her sudden death.

               Margaret is well known in the scientific world, not only for her          many contributions to the field, but also for being the first woman to          visit the Royal Society in London. The Royal Society was an          institution and forum for scientific experiments and essays to be          presented to and by its members. Naturally, it was an all-male society,          making Margaret's visit especially unique. It would be 300 years          before another woman would be unvited to attend a Royal Society          meeting.

               While she may have been called an oddity or a curiosity for her          love of science, Magaret's atomic theory has been said to be a small but          extremely valuable part of the history of science.

               By sharing her love of science with the people of her time,          Margaret not only became the first female natural philosopher, but she          also opened the door for the many more to come.


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William Cavendish


         Information on this page was compiled          from the following webpages:
   

Valerie Nigro's Page

Lindsay Della Serra's Page

Worlds of the Renaissance

Seventeenth Century Women Poets



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