Stephen Hawking favored over Margaret Thatcher, Alan Turing for spot on UK money

Alexander Graham Bell and chemist Rosalind Franklin are also among the scientists nominated to appear on Britain's 50 pound note.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
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Stephen Hawking, who died in March, is one of more 800 scientists being considered. 

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If you've ever felt that your hard-earned money is disappearing into a black hole, you might want to root for late physicist Stephen Hawking to appear on the British 50 pound note. (£50 translates to about $64 US.) 

Hawking is one of more than 800 scientists being considered to appear on the currency, the BBC reported Monday. Nominations are still being accepted, though the Bank of England has already received 174,112 nominations, of which 114,000 met the eligibility criteria.

Hawking has to be one of the most recognizable faces under consideration. In addition to his scientific discoveries, such as Hawking radiation, he inspired many by living for decades with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and became perhaps the only pop culture physicist, even appearing on The Simpsons and Star Trek. Hawking died in March. 

Maybe the most surprising nomination is former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who worked as a scientist before entering politics. Other possibilities include chemist Rosalind Franklin, who contributed to the discovery of DNA, as well as penicillin discoverer Alexander Fleming, telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell, and computer pioneer and cryptanalyst Alan Turing.

Nominations close Dec. 14, but oddsmakers William Hill have listed Hawking as the current favorite to be chosen with odds of 7/4, followed by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Dorothy Hodgkin with odds of 4/1, the BBC reports.

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