ITV Visits HHS for Neptune Discovery

On the 25th August 2016, ITV visited Hawick High School to interview Physics teacher Mr Ribeyron, about the work of pioneering 19th Century Scientist Mary Somerville.

Born on the 26th of December 1780 in Jedburgh, Mary Somerville became a renowned scientist, going on to help in the discovery of Neptune.

On the day, Mr Ribeyron and some of his pupils performed a demonstration of the outer solar system showing how the planet Neptune was discovered. Uranus was the outermost planet known at the time, but Mary observed that the planet would speed up during part of its orbit; she argued that this could only be explained by the presence of an even larger planet further out in the solar system. Using Mary’s calculations and predictions Neptune was discovered by astronomers on 24 September 1846.

Mary Somerville is perhaps so well-known due to her remarkable scientific discoveries in an era where it was heavily discouraged for females to participate in the industry of science; she persevered and succeeded, leaving a lasting impression on the scientific world.

Ciara Johnston, Hannah Thomson, and Joseph Tottman oversaw the event and recorded the pupils’ demonstration of the orbit of planets within our solar system carried out to remember the importance Mary Somerville’s discovery has had on the way we view our planetary neighbours. The programme is to be aired on ITV later this year.