It's been a year since the renowned and profoundly influential physicist Stephen Hawking passed away. To commemorated professor Stephen Hawking, the British Royal Mint has minted 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.
"Termed Hawking Radiation, this was an unexpected but highly influential development," said The Royal Mint when introducing the coin. "Hawking's discovery led physicists to the unavoidable conclusion that information is lost as a black hole forms and subsequently evaporates," explained the organisation.
"This is the black hole information paradox, one of the greatest unsolved problems in theoretical physics," it continued.
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.