The science of banknotes

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Tuesday 16 July

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Alan Turing will be on the back of the new £50 note. 

    Credit: Bank of England


Standard £16


Concession £10


Ri Members and Ri Patrons £7

Event description

In November 2018, the Bank of England asked the public to nominate a scientist to be the next face of the £50 note. Join us to explore how science will be celebrated on the final note in the first series to be issued on polymer. Sarah John, Chief Cashier, will then explore the modern science needed to stay one step ahead of banknote fraud.

The talk will be 45 minutes long to allow time for attendees to explore exhibit items bought by the Bank of England. 

About the speaker

Sarah John joined the Bank of England as a graduate from Cambridge in 1999. She has undertaken a wide variety of roles in relation to monetary policy, financial stability and markets – most recently as Head of Sterling Markets Division. As Chief Cashier and Director of Notes, Sarah is responsible for the production of high quality, secure notes which the public can use with confidence.


The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm.

Latecomers will be admitted to the gallery.


The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the street via lift.

The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

There is space at floor level in the theatre for wheelchair users.

Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help. Email:

Carers can receive a free ticket to an event by emailing

Our theatre is equipped with an Audio Induction Loop. 

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