Stephen Hawking Getting Commemorative ‘Black Hole’ Coin On Anniversary Of His Death

Professor Stephen Hawking delivers his speech at the release of the 'Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' in January 2017
Bruno Vincent / Getty Images

It’s been almost exactly a year since Stephen Hawking passed away. On March 14, 2018, after suffering from ASL for over 50 years, Hawking breathed his last. But the world has not forgotten him or the incredible contribution he made to science over his career despite his ever-worsening condition.

To celebrate his life, a new 50p coin is being released in commemoration of an amazing life. According to the BBC, the honor will put Hawking among a rather elite group of scientists, including the likes of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, to have appeared on commemorative coins.

The coin won’t just be any old coin. Instead, it was decided that it should also celebrate the work Hawking did during his life. It will feature not only his name but also an illustration of a black hole represented by concentric circles to commemorate the field he dedicated much of his life to and the one he felt was his greatest accomplishment.

“I wanted to fit a big black hole on the tiny coin and wish he was still here chortling at the thought,” designer Edwina Ellis said of her creation.

Another part of the reason Ellis decided to go with the black holes to celebrate Hawking was because he had “made difficult subjects accessible, engaging and relatable, in particular on black holes.”

Two of Hawking’s children, Lucy and Tim, visited the Royal Mint to see the coins before they are released to the public.

“It is a great privilege to be featured on a coin and I hope my father would be pleased to be alongside Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin as scientists who have made it on to money.”

Aside from the coin, there is a possibility that Hawking’s face will grace a note in the U.K. It has been announced that the country has decided to feature a scientist on the £50 banknote, but the decision as to who that will be has not yet been made. It is set to be decided over the summer.

Throughout his incredible career, Hawking had to battle with the condition that left him wheelchair bound and unable to speak for himself without a voice synthesizer.

Despite the difficulties this must have presented for him, he rose to become the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University for three decades and became a pop culture icon at the same time through his research, his frequent appearances in the media, and his bestselling book A Brief History of Time.

Hawking’s popularity was only helped by the fact that he also did numerous cameos for popular television shows and movies, including the likes of The Big Bang Theory, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Simpsons, and Futurama.