The Royal Mint released a new 50-penny coin to honour the achievements of one of the greatest scientists of our times, Stephen Hawking. The coins are available in four versions namely, Brilliant Uncirculated copper-nickel, silver, silver piedfort and gold.
The obverse design is based on an interesting lecture on black holes that Stephen had delivered in Chile in 2008. During this lecture, he had asked the audience to imagine as if they are peering into a black hole before entering it. The designer, Edwina Ellis tried to recreate a big black hole on the coin. The obverse side depicts an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Jody Clark. This coin is the first release in Royal Mint’s latest series that celebrates achievements in British Science. The BU base metal coin can be bought for £10 and it has no mintage limit. It comes in a colourful display card. The Gold version costs £795 and has a mintage limit of 400 pieces. The UK had issued a coin to honour other scientists as well like Sir Isaac Newton in 2017 and Charles Darwin in 2009.
Hawking combined Einstein’s theory of general relativity with quantum mechanics to derive the concept of black holes. According to Hawking, black holes emit radiation and later disappear. This radiation is called “Hawking Radiation” and this discovery was a major turning point in the study of black holes. Hawking also postulated that the universe had no boundary by using a mathematical construct called imaginary time. According to him, the universe was created as per the laws of science. These concepts have been defined in his book “A Brief History of Time.”
Image Courtesy: Royal Mint