LONDON: The British Royal Mint has commemorated professor Stephen Hawking in a new 50p coin, which references the late physicist’s pioneering work on black holes.
The honorary coin, which is available in three metal finishes, aims to celebrate the life and “ground-breaking” achievements of Hawking, who passed away in 2018.
It features Hawking’s name in capital letters above a rippling drawing of concentric circles, intended to represent a black hole. Designer Edwina Ellis, a British engraver and printmaker, wanted to “fit a big black hole on the tiny coin”.
Available in gold, silver, and a double thickness silver version called a piedfort, the coin will not be circulated as currency.
Also on the coin is the formula for arguably Hawking’s most important scientific contribution. It references his discovery that black holes are not completely black, and instead emit radiation, meaning they eventually evaporate and disappear.
The new 50p coin is the latest in a series of scientist honoured by the UK coinage, including Charles Darwin in 2009 and Isaac Newton in 2017.
“Hawking’s popularisation of science and breakthrough work on blackholes stand as great achievements and significant contributions to humanity,” said The Royal Mint.
The general public can purchase the coins from The Royal Mint website.
The late scientist was also chosen by design agency One Rise East, who created a set of 26 coins to represent an A-to-Z of modern-day Britain.