New £50 note: Bank of England invites public to vote for British scientist to feature on currency

Nominations are open until 14 December and public can vote for anyone who has contributed to science and influenced UK society

Caitlin Morrison
Friday 02 November 2018 11:07
The new £10 note: Security features

The Bank of England has invited members of the public to vote on which figure should appear on the new £50 note.

The theme for the polymer note is a celebration of the UK’s achievements in science, the Bank said.

The public now has six weeks to nominate a historical character “who has contributed to science and influenced UK society”.

The character will be pictured in addition to the Queen, replacing steam engine pioneers James Watt and Matthew Bolton who currently feature on the note alongside her Majesty.

According to the central bank, that person could have worked in any field of science including astronomy, biology, bio-technology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, medical research, physics, technology or zoology.

Some of the names suggested so far include Professor Stephen Hawking, who died earlier this year, and Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney said: “I am delighted that the new £50 will celebrate the UK’s contribution to science. There is a wealth of individuals whose work has shaped how we think about the world and who continue to inspire people today.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

“Our banknotes are an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of UK society and highlight the contributions of its greatest citizens. My colleagues and I look forward to hearing from the public as they think science and put forward their nominations.”

Sarah John, chief cashier and director of notes, said: “Developing a new £50 note is an important step to ensure we can continue to provide secure banknotes that can be used with confidence.

“For this note, we want people to nominate a variety of characters to reflect the brilliance and breadth of the UK’s contributions to the field of science.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments