Stephen Hawking commemorated on new 50p coin inspired by his pioneering work

STEPHEN Hawking has been commemorated on a new 50p coin inspired by his pioneering black holes work.

Edwina Ellis, who designed the coin, said: “He made difficult subjects accessible and engaging — that’s what I wanted to portray.”

“Hawking, at his playful best, invites the audience to contemplate peering into a black hole before diving in. I wanted to fit a big black hole on the tiny coin and wish he was still here chortling at the thought.”

Hawking’s son and daughter, Tim and Lucy, visited the Royal Mint for the unveiling.

Lucy said: “I hope my father would be pleased to be alongside Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin as scientists who have made it onto money!”

The physicist, who died last year aged 76, became one of the most renowned scientists in his field, despite having motor neurone disease.

He once said: “I think my greatest achievement will be my discovery that black holes are not entirely black.”

The coin is available to buy from the Royal Mint’s website — with a gold proof version at £795.

Prof Hawking is also among a large number of scientists whose names have been suggested for a new £50 banknote.