Professor Stephen Hawking is being commemorated on a new 50p coin unveiled by the Royal Mint today.
The coin is available to buy on the Royal Mint’s website starting from £10 and is the first in a new series celebrating innovation in British Science.
Professor Hawking died last year aged 76 following a long battle with motor neurone disease.
The design of the coin is influenced by professor Hawking’s pioneering work on black holes and his ability to make science engaging.
Edwina Ellis, who designed the coin says: “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.”
His work includes “Hawking Radiation” – the theory that black holes should not be completely black, instead emitting radiation, meaning they evaporate and eventually disappear.
Professor Hawking explained the theory of blackholes in his best-selling book A Brief History of Time.
He once told the BBC that he thought the discovery that black holes are not entirely black would be his “greatest achievement”.
Stephen Hawking is one of an elite group of scientists to have been honoured on UK coins, alongside the likes of Sir Isaac Newton in 2017 and Charles Darwin in 2009.
In recent years, Professor Hawking has also been the subject of biopic starring Eddie Redmayne called The Theory of Everything and has had a recording of his voice beamed into a black hole.
Tim and Lucy Hawking, son and daughter of Stephen Hawking, visited The Royal Mint to strike the new coin of the series.
Ms Hawking says: “It is a great privilege to be featured on a coin and I hope my father would be pleased to be alongside Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin as scientists who have made it onto money.”