Royal Bank of Scotland names 3 scientists as candidates for new 10-pound polymer note

According to a press release dated 31 January 2015, “Royal Bank of Scotland has named three Scottish scientists, two men and one woman, on the shortlist of candidates to appear on its first plastic 10 pound note.

The three are physicist James Clerk Maxwell, Mary Somerville, the first female member of the Royal Astronomical Society, and civil engineer Thomas Telford, known as the “Colossus of Roads”.

More than 400 people took part in the selection of the 128 nominees, who had to be Scottish historical figures or people who had made a major contribution to Scotland in science and innovation.

Maxwell (1831-1879), a hero of Albert Einstein, discovered the unified theory of electricity and magnetism.

Somerville (1780-1872) was a pioneer as a female scientist when women’s participation was discouraged. Her writings ultimately led to the discovery of the planet Neptune.

Telford (1757-1843) built more than 1,000 miles of roads in his lifetime and in Scotland designed harbors, tunnels and the Caledonian Canal.

The decision on who to put on new banknotes can be controversial. The Bank of England was criticized in 2013 for the removal of the only female figure on its notes, social reformer Elizabeth Fry. Novelist Jane Austen was subsequently chosen to appear on new 10 pound notes.”

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