Stephen Hawking honoured on new 50p coin | UK News
The life of Stephen Hawking has been commemorated on a new 50p coin.
His pioneering work on black holes has inspired the design of the coin.
The scientist, who devoted his life to unravelling the mysteries of the universe, died in March last year aged 76.
He battled motor neurone disease for the majority of his life, which forced him to use an electronic voice synthesiser.
Hawking’s research into black holes and radiation shaped modern cosmology and helped ordinary people better understand the universe.
His book, A Brief History Of Time, sold 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages.
The Royal Mint said: “This work, which used a tentative unification of Einstein’s theory of general relativity with quantum mechanics, reported that black holes should not be completely black, instead emitting radiation, meaning they evaporate and eventually disappear.”
“Hawking Radiation” was an influential development, leading to the conclusion that information is lost as a black hole forms and subsequently evaporates.
Edwina Ellis, who designed the coin, said: “Stephen Hawking made difficult subjects accessible, engaging and relatable and this is what I wanted to portray in my design, which is inspired by a lecture he gave in Chile in 2008.
“Hawking, at his playful best, invites the audience to contemplate peering into a black hole before diving in. I wanted to fit a big black hole on the tiny coin and wish he was still here chortling at the thought.”
Prices for the coin range from £10 for a brilliant uncirculated version to £795 for a gold proof coin and are available to buy on the Royal Mint’s website.
Hawking joins an elite group of scientists who have been honoured on UK coinage.
His daughter Lucy Hawking said: “I hope my father would be pleased to be alongside Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin as scientists who have made it on to money!”
The work of Sir Isaac Newton, who discovered the laws of gravity and inventing calculus, featured on a 50p coin in 2017.
And in 2009 the Royal Mint issued a special £2 coin to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, best known for his theory of evolution.
Hawking is also among a large number of scientists whose names have been suggested to feature on a new £50 banknote this summer.