Adding another mark to the win column for the women on bank notes
movement looks like it is becoming nearly a weekly occurrence. The
Royal Bank of Scotland announced Feb. 7 that pioneer 19th century
astronomer and mathematician Mary Somerville is set to be the first
woman, other than the queen, to appear on Royal Bank of Scotland paper
money. She had twice the votes of her nearest competitors on a public
ballot to decide the subject of the new £10 polymer note. The other
two candidates, on a ballot restricted to Scottish scientists, were
physicist James Clerk Maxwell and civil engineer Thomas Telford.
Somerville was born in 1780 and studied in secret, since girls were
discouraged from scientific learning. The £10 note adds to a long
legacy of honors. She was one of the first two female members of the
Royal Astronomical Society. Her work led to the discovery of the
planet Neptune. A lunar crater is named after her, as are the asteroid
belt 5571 Somerville, Somerville Island in the Canadian Arctic,
Somerville College at Oxford, and one of the committee rooms of the
Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
The new notes are scheduled to be issued in the second half of 2017.
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