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Stephen Hawking favourite to be face of new £50

Cherry Reynard
Written By:
Cherry Reynard

Stephen Hawking is currently the bookies’ favourite to be the face of the new £50 note. At 7/4, he is ahead of Nobel-prize winning chemist Dorothy Hodgkin (4 to1).

Ada Lovelace, mathematician and early computing pioneer, and Rosalind Franklin, a scientist in the field of DNA, are the other notable woman on the list and sit at 5 to 1 and 6 to 1 respectively. Alongside them are Alan Turing and telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

The Bank received almost 175,000 nominations, of which 114,000 met the eligibility criteria – to be real, deceased and have contributed to the field of science.

Margaret Thatcher was also one of a list of 800 eligible names. She started life as a chemist. She also spent some time working for J Lyons on emulsifiers for ice-creams, which has seen her credited with creating the first soft scoop ice cream, though this is controversial.

More names will be considered up until nominations close on 14 December. People can submit their nominations here.

The final decision will be made by the Bank’s Banknote Character Advisory Committee.

The current £50 note features Matthew Boulton and James Watt, pioneers of the industrial revolution.

In launching the campaign at the Science Museum, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said: “There is a wealth of individuals whose work has shaped how we think about the world and who continue to inspire people today.”

“Our banknotes are an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of UK society and highlight the contributions of our greatest citizens.”