These are the people who could end up on the £50 note

Posted by
Tom Victor

Stephen Hawking and Ada Lovelace are among the frontrunners for the new banknote, as it looks like we’ll see a scientist on our money

We have seen significant campaigns in the past over who gets their face on new banknotes, and the £50 note represents the last chance for many.

While a petition to have Harry Maguire riding an inflatable unicorn on the currency gained a lot of traction, the England footballer was sadly ineligible by virtue of still being alive.

However, a list of contenders has now been named, and those in the mix represent more than a century of scientific progress in the UK.

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Not everyone on the list worked as a scientist for their entire career, but the frontrunners all at least have some connection to the field.

As reported by the BBC, Professor Stephen Hawking is the favourite for the position, with Dorothy Hodgkin – the first and only British woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry – in second place with the bookies.

Others in the mix include computing pioneer Ada Lovelace, mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing, and former Prime Minister and research chemist Margaret Thatcher.


Nominations will continue up until 14 December, though Harry Maguire on an inflatable unicorn is sadly out of the running.

James Watt and Matthew Boulton are currently on the £50 note, but the steam engine pioneers will be replaced when a new, polymer note is released at some point after 2020.

The polymer £20 note is set for a 2020 release, with artist J.M.W. Turner on the opposite side to the queen.

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(Images: Getty)


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