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UK public urged to recommend scientist for new 50-pound note

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney attends the Bank of England's inflation report press conference in the City of London, Thursday Nov. 1, 2018. (Kirsty O'Connor/Pool via AP)

LONDON (AP) — The Bank of England on Friday asked the public to submit nominations of prominent British scientists to appear on a new 50 pound note.

Governor Mark Carney said the figure can come from any field of science — but “I have ruled out economists.”

The current 50 pound note (worth $65) features steam-engine pioneers Matthew Boulton and James Watt.

The U.K’s highest-denomination note is the last to be redesigned and switched from paper to more secure and durable polymer.

There’s no shortage of individuals to nominate. From physicist Stephen Hawking, who died in March, to Dorothy Hodgkin, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964.

Suggestions can be made on the bank’s website until Dec. 14. A committee will create a shortlist from the recommendations, and Carney will make the final choice next year.

The bank says the individual must be dead, and real — to avoid a repeat of the process that saw the public choose “Boaty McBoatface” for a new research ship.

The bank is converting its notes into plastic to make them harder to counterfeit. A new 10-pound note with author Jane Austen went into circulation last year, and a 20-pound note featuring artist J.M.W. Turner will be produced in 2020.

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