Stephen Hawking: British scientist honoured with new 50p coin

The scientist died last year

Hawking was confined to a wheelchair, nearly completely paralysed and unable to speak except through his trademark voice synthesiser after having being diagnosed with motor neurone disease aged 21.

But he was also a global star - his 1988 book "A Brief History of Time" was an unlikely worldwide bestseller, and he appeared as himself in television shows from "The Simpsons" to "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

Prof Stephen Hawking has been honoured on a new 50p coin inspired by his pioneering work on black holes.

Known as the Bekenstein-Hawking formula - an honour shared with the theoretical physicist Jacob Bekenstein - its derivation was a significant step forward in efforts to make the weird properties of black holes fit with existing laws on energy.

"We have remained in close contact with the Hawking family throughout this case and I am grateful to them - as they approach the anniversary of Professor Hawking's death - and others for sharing their concerns with us".

He once told the BBC he thought his discovery that black holes were not entirely black would be his "greatest achievement".

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Stephen Hawking passed away in 2018 at the age of 76.

She said she wanted to reflect the way he "made hard subjects accessible, engaging and relatable", in particular on black holes.

He will now join Charles Darwin and Sir Issac Newton, as the only scientists to have been on United Kingdom coins.

The illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser, but he rose to serve as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University for 30 years.

Physicist Hawking presented astounding works on black holes, which were the inspiration of the designer while working on the coin.

An uncirculated version of the coin is available to purchase on the Royal Mint's website from £10. A decision will be made in the summer.

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