Scientist, Not Boaty McBoatface Will Grace £50

When you ask the public to help you name something you have to be prepared for silly suggestions. Keeping in mind what happened when the Natural Environment Research Council wanted help naming its new polar research ship (voters pushed RRS Boaty McBoatface to the front of the fleet), The Bank Of England said it would not be bound by a public vote -- it was merely asking for suggestions to choose who’ll be the face on the new £50 note. The BOE even put out a fun video (below) to kick off the six-week nomination period, which closed in mid-December.

There were 227,299 nominations -- of which 991 met the criteria: real people, deceased and have contributed to science in the UK. The Banknote Character Advisory Committee will now consider the merits of each. They will announce who will appear on the new note in summer 2019.

Some of the contenders include Ada Lovelace, a 19th-century mathematician known as the “grandmother of computing”, Stephen Hawking and Nobel prizewinner chemist Dorothy Hodgkin, according to an article in The Guardian.

You can check out the list of 991 names here.



Traci Purdum is Chemical Processing’s senior digital editor. She’d like to take a ride on Boaty McBoatface someday. She’d also like to win a bag full of the newly faced £50 notes. It’s doubtful she will do either. You can email condolences to