Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Science | By

UK issues new black hole coin in honour of Stephen Hawking

UK issues new black hole coin in honour of Stephen Hawking

It's been a year since the renowned and profoundly influential physicist Stephen Hawking passed away, and the Royal Mint has honoured his legacy in the form of a new commemorative 50 pence coin.

Hawking died previous year at the age of 76.

Hawking was confined to a wheelchair, nearly completely paralysed and unable to speak except through his trademark voice synthesiser after having being diagnosed with motor neurone disease aged 21.

The famous physicist is joining other iconic scientists who have been honoured on coins in the past, including Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

But he was also a global star - his 1988 book "A Brief History of Time" was an unlikely worldwide bestseller, and he appeared as himself in television shows from "The Simpsons" to "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

The Stephen Hawking 50p coin will be available in gold, silver, and cupro-nickle.

The coin's designer Edwina Ellis said she wanted to portray how Professor Hawking "made hard subjects accessible, engaging and relatable". "His popularisation of science and breakthrough work on black holes stand as great achievements and significant contributions to humanity", said Nicola Howell, director of consumer at the Royal Mint.

The coin will be available to buy from the Royal Mint later this month, with prices ranging from 10 pounds (13.42 USA dollars) for a brilliant uncirculated version of the coin to 795 pounds for a gold proof coin.

Theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author, Stephen Hawking, who passed away aged 76 past year, would be "pleased to be alongside Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin as scientists who have made it on to money", according to his daughter.

One side of the coin features an image of a black hole with the scientist's name inscribed above it, while the reverse is an image of Queen Elizabeth II.

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