I've been wanting to run something about the cool new Stephen Hawking coin; here's an excerpt from a great Coin Update article by Michael
The Royal Mint has released (12th March) new commemorative coins which are in remembrance of the late physicist Stephen Hawking, internationally renowned
for his pioneering work on black holes. This work, which used a tentative unification of Einstein's theory of general relativity with quantum mechanics,
reported that black holes should not be completely black and instead emit radiation, meaning they evaporate and eventually disappear.
A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing, not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as
light, can escape from inside it. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole. Termed
"Hawking radiation," this was an unexpected but highly influential development. The fact that something can come out of black holes means that they are not
truly black, as people originally thought. In fact, over enough time, Hawking radiation can lead to black holes eventually evaporating and disappearring.
Hawking's discovery led physicists to the unavoidable conclusion that information is lost as a black hole forms and subsequently evaporates. This is the
black hole information paradox, one of the greatest unsolved problems in theoretical physics. These theories and phenomena are explained in his most famous
work, A Brief History of Time.
Following his cremation, a service of thanksgiving was held at Westminster Abbey on the 15th June 2018, after which his ashes were scattered in the Abbey's
nave, alongside the grave of Sir Isaac Newton and close to that of Charles Darwin. Inscribed on his memorial stone are the words "HERE LIES WHAT WAS MORTAL OF
STEPHEN HAWKING 1942 - 2018," along with his most famed equation.
The 50-pence coin is designed by Edwina Ellis, whose design is inspired by a lecture he gave in Chile in 2008. The reverse side cleverly depicts a black
hole on the surface of the coin in a carefully aligned linear approach, giving the appearance that there is an actual chasm on the coin's surface.
The black hole depiction is pretty cool, more at home on an art medal than a circulating coin. But I'm left with the feeling the Royal Mint could have
done better with this one. The upper half of the reverse design with the equation and lettering are pretty bland. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Kingdom: Famed physicist Stephen Hawking and his groundbreaking achievements celebrated on new 50-pence coin
Wayne Homren, Editor
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