The Royal Bank of Scotland have whittled down an initial list of 128 nominees to the final list of James Clerk Maxwell, Thomas Telford and Mary Somerville on the bank’s next £10 note which will be made from polymer rather than cotton paper.

– James Clerk Maxwell , Physicist (1831 – 1879)

A pioneer of electromagnetism, James Clerk Maxwell’s discovery of the unified theory of electricity and magnetism directly led to the application of electromagnetic radiation. Einstein considered Maxwell to be his hero and the greatest physicist since Newton whilst his findings were described as “the most significant event of the 19th century” by fellow physicist Richard Feynman.

– Mary Somerville, Scientist, Science writer and translator (1780 – 1872)

At a time when women’s participation in science was strongly discouraged, Mary Somerville was a true pioneer and was jointly nominated to be the first female member of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1835. Somerville’s writing influenced James Clerk Maxwell and John Couch Adams with her discussion of a hypothetical planet perturbing Uranus leading Adams to look for and discover Neptune.

– Thomas Telford, Civil Engineer (1757 – 1843)

Known as the ‘Colossus of Roads’, Thomas Telford built over 1,000 miles of roads in his lifetime and became the first president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. In his native Scotland, Telford designed numerous infrastructure projects such as the Caledonian Canal and the Telford churches, as well as harbours and tunnels. Much of his work remains in use across the UK to this day.


Voting is open from Monday 1 February and closes on Sunday 7 February. It will take place on the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Facebook page – – where images of each of the nominees will be posted along with biographies to help people make up their mind. The portrait with the most ‘likes’ will be chosen to feature on the new £10 note.


Cast your vote on the Royal Bank of Scotland Facebook page

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