Frank W. Dyson: The Seventeenth Bruce Medalist

Those whose picture of nineteenth century Britain was formed by reading Charles Dickens may think that a poor lad's only hope was to discover that he was a long-lost heir to a rich nobleman. This picture is false; there were many roads to success for poor boys in Victorian England, and early evidence of mathematical ability was one. Indeed, all seven Bruce medalists born in England during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) started in poverty but won scholarships which led directly to highly successful careers in astronomy.