Professor Stephen Hawking or Ada Lovelace could soon be immortalised in our wallets as the new £50 note is to feature a British scientist, the Bank of England has announced.
Governor Mark Carney revealed the plans on a visit to the Science Museum in London, urging members of the public to “think science” when putting forward their suggestions.
Calls for the late Stephen Hawking to become the new face have already been made, with Professor Brian Cox putting forward the theoretical physicist and author.
“He made invaluable contributions over half a century to our understanding of cosmology, the early universe and black holes.,” Cox tweeted.
“He also inspired thousands of scientists + million of people, me included, through his books and lectures.”
Ada Lovelace, known as the first computer programmer, has also already been nominated by some Twitter users.
“I’ve gone for Ada Lovelace: so ahead of her time, so relevant to the present day,” wrote Fleur Loveridge.
English Chemist Rosalind Franklin may also be in the running.
Mike Nugent tweeted: “Her data was a part of the data used to formulate Crick and Watson’s 1953 hypothesis regarding the structure of DNA.”
Members of the pubic now have until December 14 to nominate a historical figure who has made their stamp on society and has worked in fields including astronomy, chemistry, engineering and maths.
Our banknotes are an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of UK society and highlight the contributions of its greatest citizensMark Carney, BoE Governor
Carney said: “I am delighted that the new £50 will celebrate the UK’s contribution to science.
“There is a wealth of individuals whose work has shaped how we think about the world and who continue to inspire people today.
“Our banknotes are an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of UK society and highlight the contributions of its greatest citizens.
“My colleagues and I look forward to hearing from the public as they think science and put forward their nominations.”
It follows calls for prominent black historical figures to be placed on the polymer note.
Labour MP Wes Streeting led parliamentary calls to have nurse Mary Seacole on the note, in a letter sent to Carney earlier this week.
Nominations will be deliberated on by a panel which will include four experts in the field of science, who will create a shortlist.
Carney will make the final choice before announcing the brand new note – which is the highest denomination in UK currency – in 2019.