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Old 12th Nov 2018, 7:47 am   #61
dsergeant
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

Jocelyn Bell-Burnell is still alive so doesn't qualify under the rules. My personal feeling is that it should be somebody from 50 years ago or more, not recent, and also somebody who is reasonably well known to the general public. Sadly there are not that many well known women scientists from those times.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 9:28 am   #62
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

Even with male scientists, the number that are well known to the public is quite small, and then if you subtract those who have already been on a banknote...

Well known to the general public means TV documentaries, films, news. These seem to be the only routes to public awareness.

Perhaps the banknote should be seen as an opportunity to educate the general public (well, those who can afford to use £50 notes) about a scientist they ought to have known about.

While we're at it, let's take a sledgehammer to glass ceilings and gender typecasting. Let it become quite OK for young lasses to have things even if they're not coloured bright pink. Having knowledge and the ability to do things has to be respected, not written off as 'geeky'.
Problems have to be fixed at their source, or else they will keep recurring.

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Old 12th Nov 2018, 12:12 pm   #63
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

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Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
While we're at it, let's take a sledgehammer to glass ceilings and gender typecasting. Let it become quite OK for young lasses to have things even if they're not coloured bright pink. Having knowledge and the ability to do things has to be respected, not written off as 'geeky'.
Problems have to be fixed at their source, or else they will keep recurring

Don't worry, that 'sledgehammer' has been wielded by our PC broadcast media for years now, to the extent it's becoming tiresome. An earlier form of gender role restriction has been replaced by another. Women can now only be shown as 'strong', dominant and in command, rather than in a full range of roles from eminent scientist right through to traditional home maker/feminine (or if you like: 'pink'). In my opinion, people should feel free to take on whatever role makes them most happy and intellectual attainment is not the only thing that should be celebrated.

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Old 12th Nov 2018, 2:28 pm   #64
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

Exactly!

I'm for the removal of barriers and restrictive expectations. Let people make their own, free choices. It's the freedom that's important. Probably some fields will still show a gender imbalance, but if it's the freely expressed preference of the genders involved, then things are alright. Pressure and compulsion are what is wrong.

Applying pressure or restrictions to 'correct' a perceived imbalance is just plain wrong too.

In a field where there is an imbalance, I'd like to be sure that it is due to the free choice of the people concerned.

I ride horses, and that's a field where females outnumber males. But I can report I've met no barriers and no pressures against it. The vast vast majority of competitions are open to riders of either gender. The imbalance is real, but has no upsetting causes. Why can't more things be like this?

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Old 12th Nov 2018, 5:54 pm   #65
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

Hilda studied Chemistry under Dorothy Hodgkin?
I didn't know that.
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Old 13th Nov 2018, 12:54 am   #66
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

I voted for RV Jones, bit of a hero of mine. If 'no-one's heard of him' is a reason not to have him then how come Adam Smith is on the £20? Er..famous scottish economist? Really?
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Old 13th Nov 2018, 7:02 am   #67
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

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I voted for RV Jones, bit of a hero of mine.
Believe he was predicting German rockets when his boss (Lindeman?) wouldn't hear of it?

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Old 13th Nov 2018, 2:47 pm   #68
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

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I voted for RV Jones, bit of a hero of mine. If 'no-one's heard of him' is a reason not to have him then how come Adam Smith is on the £20? Er..famous scottish economist? Really?
I hadn't heard of him before the £20 note was revised.

Same with Elizabeth Fry who used to be on the £5 note.
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Old 17th Nov 2018, 11:39 pm   #69
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

What about Sir John Cockcroft? His page on Wiki is pretty long https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cockcroft, but, especially for those of us who were alive in 1957, perhaps his greatest achievement was putting filters on top of the chimney at Windscale. He was ridiculed for doing this, but if he hadn't, the Windscale fire that year would have been less a "footnote in history" and perhaps more like Chernobyl before Chernobyl?

You'd have to wonder if some of us on this forum might otherwise not be here?

In passing, with Ernest Walton, he had achieved the first "splitting of the atom" some time earlier, and picked up a Nobel prize at one point. He was born in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

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Old 18th Nov 2018, 12:17 am   #70
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

I think Jocelyn Bell and Rosalind Franklin were pretty much equal re the way they were treated. The one who died would have been as dignified as the person still alive-check out the Radio 4 interview! On the male side I'd want Tesla and Baird. One was betrayed by big business and Edison, the other by his fellow school student and bully Lord Reith. Quite shocking really! Even now, we all watch TV and do everything else [on AC current] every minute of the day! As I'm in Bexhill and regularly walk past where JLB died, in 1946, I really have to go with JLB as the most appropriate choice. It might perhaps help to make up for the way in which he was treated. Even here, they don't really want to know!

Everyone else mentioned was a more than worthy candidate-R V Jones thank you!

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Old 18th Nov 2018, 2:25 am   #71
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

Whilst the exact meaning of “scientist” in the banknote portrait context might be hard to pin down, I think it would be a big stretch to include Baird in even the loosest definition. His reputation appears to have been a case of “when legend becomes fact, print the legend”, to borrow the movie line. Nevertheless, W.J. Baker provided a pleasant summary in his book “The Young Man’s Guide to Television”, see pp.83-85. In that he did include the comment “As a theoretician Baird does not rate highly…”

P.P. Eckersley, writing in Wireless World 1959 April (p.175) was more direct. He said: “Baird stood above his contemporaries in imagination, but, as events proved, below them in knowledge.” Eckersley also said ‘A recollection of Baird is of him throwing his hands in the air, crying “Don’t talk to me of sidebands!” – it was just was I was talking to him about. How fatal to hopes are the brutal facts of physics’.

Thus Baird was a long way from being a scientist, and on that basis not a contender for the £50 note. If there is ever a category for misguided Don Quixote-like folk heroes, then he might be a front runner. He may certainly be credited with pursuing his goal against all odds, but he chose the wrong pathway with his mechanical scanning system, when all others in the field were working towards the practical realization of Campbell Swinton’s all-electronic idea of 1908. That I think qualifies as something of great technical imagination. As I understand it, Campbell Swinton was an engineer, but his proposal was published in the scientific journal Nature, so perhaps he was a scientist as well. Staying within the early TV field, then what about Blumlein? I am not sure whether he was a scientist, an applied scientist or an engineer; probably something of each, but he certainly made a huge contribution.

Tesla might not qualify for inclusion on a British banknote, but he was also an enigmatic figure with a surrounding mythology. In popular culture Tesla and AC often seem to be conflated, despite the fact that AC per se was a flourishing technology before he entered the field. His contribution was polyphase AC, although he was not the first to propose it. But having helped to get the polyphase concept moving, he seemed not to want to develop it much, staying with the two-phase and split-phase concepts. It was left to Steinmetz of GE, a virtual unknown in popular culture, to do the hard work of developing the mathematics (involving an early applied use of complex numbers) of the more efficient three-phase system, which then soon became the polyphase norm. Edison had a commercial reason to oppose any form of AC, and at times he was quite ridiculous about it, but his resistance was futile, and the matter had been pretty much settled by the time Tesla arrived on the scene.


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Old 18th Nov 2018, 11:47 am   #72
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

I'd go for Brian May, because he has a PhD in Astrophysics, he looks just like Issac Newton and is a fantastic guitarist and his face would look great on a bank note.
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Old 19th Nov 2018, 2:19 am   #73
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

I tend to agree that defining a scientist is not easy but there is also the problem of a reaction by the academic "establishment" in whatever subject. It was admitted on a Radio 4 program the other day that, these days, anyone deviating from the perceived "correct" approach while teaching at University might find their career prospects threatened. Twas ever so in a way! It's amazing that Edison, Marconi, Tesla and Baird ever came up with anything really! I'm reminded of Soleri who was a highly professional established musician but still not a Mozart

Brian May is very well known but maybe not so much as a Scientist, plus he's still alive.... despite playing guitar on the roof of Buckingham place. Like most people I didn't know there was a mortality rule. Stephen Hawking is the obvious candidate [and he was on the Simpsons as well]. Would he really not have qualified if he was still with us-amazing! My English Lit teacher told me not to write about Bob Dylan, in the sixties, as he wasn't an "established poet"-defined as someone who had been dead for 50 years. I said "he's only 24" !

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Old 19th Nov 2018, 9:15 am   #74
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

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I didn't know there was a mortality rule.
I think it's a blanket rule by the Bank of England (I don't know about the "provincial" banks) that the only living person's image allowed on their notes is the reigning monarch.
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Old 19th Nov 2018, 10:12 am   #75
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

Yes I can see that Dave-maintaining Royal exclusivity! It wouldn't really work for the [now slightly tarnished] Nobel prize though. I suppose another problem with Brian's nomination would be his surname that happens to match the PM's. No relation but all the same.

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Old 19th Nov 2018, 12:50 pm   #76
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

Jocelyn Bell and Brian May seem like decent people, so maybe we'd better wait a goodly number of years and not do anything to accelerate their eligibility

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Old 19th Nov 2018, 2:13 pm   #77
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

Agreed David. Best to err on the side of caution perhaps Further to dealing with the "academic establishment" I remembered Eric Laithwaite pioneer of magnetic levitation and how they treated him. No doubt some people would say he was an engineer rather than a scientist but he endured much worse than that in the end. I see that I brought his experience up on Skywave's Nikola Tesla thread [9/10/17 P12*].

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Old 19th Nov 2018, 3:29 pm   #78
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

As a dead scientist, I'd say has to be Stephen Hawking. Newton and Faraday have already been honoured.

Alan Blumlein was a brilliant engineer, but not a scientist. I did wonder if Sir Godfrey Houndsfield qualified, with his CT work, but Wiki describes him as an engineer.

Boulton and Watt were not scientists either, but strong engineers. They qualified for the £50 note!
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Old 19th Nov 2018, 7:09 pm   #79
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

I don't get this Brian May thing at all; he completed work for a PhD (in some suitably obscure topic) and then what...? Surely there has to be a body of work stretching over many years, including some major "high point"?

I'm sticking with the name I submitted on the website; Alan Turing.
  1. He produced a body of first-class work over his (short) life time.
  2. His work contributed directly to the defeat of Hitler and the freedom of our country.
  3. The way he was treated after the war can never be fully re-addressed, no matter how many computing centres are named after him.

I suspect that if Hawking had not been ill, and if he had not needed the voice box, his celebrity would have been greatly diminished and his status would not have been so great.

Someone else with a possible claim; Sir Fred Hoyle, who first postulated stellar nucleosynthesis (the heavier elements in your body were formed in the core of a long-dead star) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hoyle. Born in Bingley, West Yorkshire, his term "Big Bang" is used a million times a day, and will be for the rest of time...even if he hadn't intended it that way .

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Old 19th Nov 2018, 7:38 pm   #80
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Default Re: Which Scientist on the new £50 Note?

I equally don't get the Brian May thing.

To me a valuable scientist/researcher's achievements are measured by __patents__ not a trail of published/cited-by-their-academic-colleagues papers.
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