Guest post: Nominate a scientist for the new £50 note

Originally a comment by latsot in Miscellany Room.

There’s a new £50 note being issued soon. One of those new plastic ones that spring clean out of your hand and away on the breeze if you try to fold them. Anyway, the Bank of England is accepting nominations for who should be featured on the note. It has to be a British scientist.

You know what’s going to happen here. The nominations are going to be Dawkins, Hawking, Cox (Cox has already nominated and argued for Hawking) with the more historically minded going for the likes of Crick, Darwin, of course (deserving but has already been on a note), Faraday, Halley, Higgs, Jenner, Dirac…. Well you get the idea. Deserving scientists all (although note that I didn’t say deserving of what) but obvious choices for an obvious reason.

If you feel like voting, you can pick my personal favourite, Mary Anning:

Or you could choose, say,

Harriette Chick

Eva Crane

Deborah Doniach

Rosalind Franklin

Monica Grady

Helen Gwynne-Vaughan

Wendy Hall

Anita Harding

Joanne Johnson

Ada Lovelace

Elsie Widdowson

Florence Nightingale

And thousands of other people guilty of doing science while female.

I’ve only met one of those on this list (guess who and no even I’m not *that* old) and I’d love to see her on a note. Also, some of these people (including her) are alive and therefore not eligible but fuck it: a) a lot of people are marauding around on places like Twitter nominating people who are alive and b) it’s worth finding out about all the people on that list regardless, if you don’t already know about them.

But if you do one thing I instruct you to this year, vote for someone who is not an obvious suspect and preferably not a man. You don’t even have to be British, any bugger can vote. If your browser tells you you can’t… see me.

Also, as a personal favour to me, whatever you do, don’t pick Tim Berners-Lee. We…. have some history. I would hate to have to punch holes in any £50 note I inexplicably managed to get hold of. Especially not these new ones, they are quite hard to kill.

And anyway, just vote for Mary Anning. Particularly if you have ever been to the Natural History Museum in London.

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