Quite masterly trolling here

Supporters of Margaret Thatcher as the new face of the £50 note have received a boost after she was placed on the longlist of candidates by the Bank of England.

It had been thought that the former prime minister would fail to make the cut, after it was announced that the Bank was looking only for people with a scientific background.

But Baroness Thatcher had been a scientist in her early career, and had worked on developing emulsifiers for ice-creams for Joe Lyons foods.

She has been credited with helping develop Mr Whippy ice cream, though it is disputed whether she was on that particular team at the company while it was being made.

Masterful. Congratulations to the troll who made that decision.

52 thoughts on “Quite masterly trolling here”

  1. It had been thought that the former prime minister would fail to make the cut, after it was announced that the Bank was looking only for people with a scientific background.

    But Baroness Thatcher had been a scientist in her early career, and had worked on developing emulsifiers for ice-creams for Joe Lyons foods.

    And the degree in Chemistry from Oxford?

  2. I like the comment that most of the people who would complain about her being on a fifty pound note would probably never see a real one anyway.

  3. Given that there are 600 people on the list, it’s no big deal.

    And the chances of a pasty faced lady being on the note are zero anyway.

  4. Turing ticks all the boxes except he is a white male
    Hawking ticks all the boxes, but he is a white male

    This is hard….

    My bet is on Dorothy Hodgkin

  5. And the chances of a pasty faced lady being on the note are zero anyway.

    Isn’t there one on the other side of every note?….

  6. One things for sure, they won’t risk a public vote, Brexit and Boaty MacBoatface have dampened their enthusiasm for consulting the hoi polloi.

  7. Looked through the long list obviously most are quite obscure…but this might have a good shout.
    James Prescott Joule FRS FRSE was an English physicist, mathematician and brewer, born in Salford, Lancashire.

  8. Surely they’ve got the technology now to make customised bank notes?

    If you want your face on an M&M you can get it done.

    You can make your child the star of his own book.

    Obviously the bank would oversee the printing.

  9. Turing would be great. Yes, not a woman (and it would be a braver decision for that), but scores SJW points for being gay. Would be interesting to see who on the left argues against him, and how.

    However more importantly than any of that, he made some genuinely important discoveries, which is what I care about.

  10. Rosalind Franklin will win – known as the Dark Lady of DNA, and unjustly denied a Nobel by male conspiracy, so she ticks all the boxes.

  11. @ starfish
    I should be happy with seeing Hodgkin on the notes (except I only handle one or two a year). Handicaps being that she is not a “victim”, and she went to Oxford.
    @ Cadet
    The simplest reason for Ms Franklin not getting a Nobel Prize is that is a chunk of money given to a living person and she died four years before the men shared the prize. Hardly a conspiracy unless they hatched a plot to infect her with ovarian cancer.

  12. john77
    Never realised the Nobel was not awarded posthumously. Thanks.
    I’m not familiar with the exact circumstances of Rosalind Franklin and her lack of recognition surrounding the discovery of the double helix, but it is often quoted that she was denied an Nobel by the patriarchy. Seems that’s not the case at all.

  13. Hallowed Be: Joule would be a good choice, especially since the SI unit of energy is named after him. But he’s a Victorian White Male so shares the same sort of handicaps as Cecil Rhodes, and energy is a dirty word these days too.

  14. DTP

    I believe scientists are those who use the scientific method to conduct their research. Using that definition, Murphy clearly qualifies. Just look at his unassailable empirical and peer reviewed work to prove the tax gap is at least 5 times large than the number used by the UK tax authority.

    I believe he’s also made some quite insightful comments on a potential sixth law of thermodynamics

  15. Franklin was not denied a Nobel by male conspiracy, she was denied because she died before the DNA award was made.

  16. If you want science then you start with Newton, Maxwell, Darwin, and Faraday. Have they all been used before?

    But tell me, why must it be scientists?

  17. Thatcher

    Then encourage people to withdraw 50 notes and burn them in protest.

    All seignorage profits flow back to HMT.

  18. Bank note printing is actually quite complicated. I have been there. I’ve seen the kit. I’ve seen the outputs and the bundles of notes. I’ve also seen the barbed wire and the security teams. Am amazed the lorries with the notes don’t get knocked off given they can only drive down one road to get out. Must have armed police protection though but you’d think a bunch of Albanians with assault rifles would have a crack.

    As for Thatcher… she might make it. I was surprised when the bank said “tough shit” to the vegan lobby. Not in those words but it was a rare example of not pandering. They do that by pushing obvious physical diversity on boards rather than actually getting people who are good at challenging.

  19. Why is Turing classed as a scientist? His early work was mathematics, his war work was engineering / mathematics and his later work on AI was in the whole scheme of this not particularly significant.

  20. @ Alex
    Computing is a science, it’s not pure mathematics.
    The SJWs are keener on Turing because he was “oppressed”.

  21. Computing is not a science, some of it is mathematics, some engineering (applied science if you like), a some of it is art and craft.

  22. If they wanted someone who was dead and had ‘contributed’ to science, they should have picked one of the victims of Burke and Hare.

  23. If not Joule how about Dalton? Or Hooke – clever wee bugger, Hooke. (It may be bleedin’ obvious, but is Watson-Watt on their list?)

    Could they do a twosome? How about the geologists, Lyle and Hutton? Or the Braggs, father and son? (The father was an Aussie but I’m sure we don’t mind.) In fact how about more people from the old Dominions? Has Ernest Rutherford been used? How about the insulin duo, Banting and Macleod? Was there a leading Newfoundland scientist while it was a Dominion?

    Or if mathematicians are allowed, why not celebrate the Raj with Ramanujan? Or if computer people are on, how about Flowers who built the Bletchley computers? Or just go straight for Napier, the mathematician who made the biggest advance in computation between the introduction of Arabic numerals and the electronic computer.

  24. Bloke in North Dorset


    “Never realised the Nobel was not awarded posthumously. Thanks.
    I’m not familiar with the exact circumstances of Rosalind Franklin and her lack of recognition surrounding the discovery of the double helix, but it is often quoted that she was denied an Nobel by the patriarchy. Seems that’s not the case at all.”

    IIRC the timeline went something like:

    Nobel awarded for DNA
    SJWs complain patriarchy missed Franklin
    Nobel committee points out winners must be living
    SJWs complain patriarchy waited until she died and should have awarded it earlier

  25. Bloke in North Dorset

    If we’re going to consider the Dominions how about Barry Marshall for his work on stomach ulcers and using himself as the guinea pig, that was real science. From Wiki:

    “After failed attempts to infect piglets in 1984, Marshall, after having a baseline endoscopy done, drank a broth containing cultured H. pylori, expecting to develop, perhaps years later, an ulcer.[14] He was surprised when, only three days later, he developed vague nausea and halitosis (due to the achlorhydria, there was no acid to kill bacteria in the stomach, and their waste products manifested as bad breath), noticed only by his mother. On days 5–8, he developed achlorydric (no acid) vomiting. On day eight, he had a repeat endoscopy, which showed massive inflammation (gastritis), and a biopsy from which H. pylori was cultured, showing it had colonised his stomach. On the fourteenth day after ingestion, a third endoscopy was done, and Marshall began to take antibiotics.[15] Marshall did not develop antibodies to H. pylori, suggesting that innate immunity can sometimes eradicate acute H. pylori infection. Marshall’s illness and recovery, based on a culture of organisms extracted from a patient, fulfilled Koch’s postulates for H. pylori and gastritis, but not for peptic ulcer. This experiment was published in 1985 in the Medical Journal of Australia[16] and is among the most cited articles from the journal.[17]”

  26. @John77
    Some computing may be science (e.g. development of transistors), but not the bits Turing was involved in. That was either mathematics (solving Hilbert’s problem) or engineering (the Bombe). And in addition, Turing’s work wasn’t exactly unique. Alonzo Church preceded him with his lambda calculus, while his work at Bletchley was as part of a team (of 10,000) and followed on the work of Polish code breakers, and his achievements weren’t half as impressive as the worke of Bill Tutte and Tommy Flowers. As for his computer designs, they weren’t actually built unlike those of his contemporaries. The hard part of engineering is actually getting the thing built and working. And as for his “persecution”, I suspect that, given his lifestyle in later life, he would have failed Developed Vetting even today.

  27. @ djc
    Computing is NOT art and craft.
    As a child I was subjected to, and traumatised by Art lessons, some of which were actually Art & Craft. But, being a white male, such trauma is no excuse for my future failings.
    When I was nearly grown up I was i troduced to computing and it is *not* art and craft – precision is vital.

  28. Perhaps to appeal to the actual users, it should be Arthur Daley, or William Hill? Or even Bob the Builder? Or maybe the inventor of the fixed odds betting machine for services to Money Laundering (allegedly). Personally I would go for Bob.

  29. Personally I find the attempt to drive a wedge between mathematics, science and engineering rather contrived.

    Yes, they are different words. But in practice they are highly interdependent to the point where they are intrinsically linked and quite possibly fundamentally parts of one another, more of a continuum.

    It’s a bit like arguing about who qualifies to be a writer and then splitting the field into grammar, syntax and narrative. (‘James Joyce wasn’t a proper writer, he couldn’t even write a proper sentence!’, ‘The Jabberwocky isn’t a real poem, it doesn’t actually mean anything!’)

    Mathematics can be described as a language, or a tool, of science. It could be argued that it exists entirely in some abstract realm with no empiricism or deduction involved. And yet there is something almost suspiciously coincidental about how numerical systems models real world phenomena, almost as if mathematics is intrinsic in the fabric of reality that science attempts to deal with.

    Mathematics and logic are inseparable, and the every practice of science involves both at some level. Many theoretical physicists are ‘just’ mathematicians, who never perform experiments or are guided by any particular deductive process. Are they not scientists? The same is true for the more arcane end of computer science. There are even many scientific theories in the last century that reality is a form of computer, with information some kind of fundamental property; certainly physical entropy and information science have deep links. Turing’s insight into the universal computer may have just as much scientific relevance as Einstein’s realisation of the universality of matter and energy.

    Engineering is often dismissed as some kind of applied science. As if application makes something unreal. Sometimes I agree that it can be more about taking the product of science (understanding of reality) to effect an outcome in reality. But this mistakes how engineering often really works. The bouncing bomb mentioned above is a good example; we knew some general physical principles, but it required multiple iterations of the scientific process to get right. Hypothesis (‘this design should work’), experimental testing (‘it broke up’), deduction (‘this is why’). The fact that the resultant theory was embodied in a physical object and not a paper in a prestigious journal (and engineers do produce scientific papers!) is merely a difference of expression.

    In many ways the practice of empiricism necessitates some kind of engineering and application. Is empiricism even possible without applied science?

    The discovery of DNA is an interesting case in point for all of this. The crystallography to image the structure was essentially a challenge of engineering. The interpretation of the image into a 3D structure was essentially a mathematical process. Between the engineering and the mathematics, some distinct realm of ‘science’ becomes little more than a god of the gaps.

    In the early days of the Enlightenment, we didn’t have the scientific vocabulary we do now. ‘Physick’ was something you did to sick people, and ‘Natural Philosophy’ – structured thinking about reality (nature) – was the term generally used for much scientific activity. I used to find that term confusing as a child but as I got more experienced and knowledgeable it seemed ever more appropriate.

    Personally I have long suspected that the intrinsic links between the fundamentals of all these fields is no accident but something weaved into the very nature of reality.

  30. @Oblong

    “god of the gaps.”

    I like that phrase, wish i’d invented it!

    Problem is those who wield mathematics but don’t really understand it.

    Every day mathematical illiteracy is on view in the media (in particular statistics) as the latest ‘study’ is eagerly promulgated without a list of assumptions and error estimations

    Climate catastrophism is particularly prone to this

  31. Re the debate abiut whether maths and engineering are “science”…

    “Physics is the only real science. The rest are just stamp collecting.”

    — Ernest Rutherford

  32. “If Turing has been a happily married heterosexual most people in this country would never have heard of him, sadly.”
    His death at the age of 41 is usually blamed on the way he was treated because of his homosexuality. He was still very productive up until that point, starting to produce work that wasn’t hidden in layers of security.
    A happily married, long lived, Turing might actually have produced much more and had a much more public life.
    He might well have become as famous as Tim Berners Lee or Ada Lovelace in that alternate history.

  33. Computer science is to science as plumbing is to hydraulics.
    “The Devil’s DP Dictionary” (1981) Stan Kelly-Bootle

  34. “I like that phrase, wish i’d invented it!” – cheers, not original unfortunately, it came from brighter minds than mine, although used in more theological settings.

    “Physics is the only real science. The rest are just stamp collecting” – Funnily enough, I have some sympathy for this view. Physics is (probably) the science that gets closest to the fundamental nature of the universe. Although it’s not necessarily the case however, who knows what lies behind the veil of current knowledge?

    But then again a physical ‘theory of everything’ isn’t necessarily the only profound truth, even if it is the most fundamental. For example, the profundity of logic does not necessarily lie in its axioms, or the profundity of the conscious brain may not lie in a complete understanding of the neuron.

    Emergent properties can be more than the sum of their parts. Maybe!

  35. Never realised the Nobel was not awarded posthumously. Thanks

    This is also why Daniel Kahneman got the Nobel prize for economics but Amos Tversky did not.

  36. @ Matthew L
    That does *not* answer my point. I was *not* talking about a “ban” but the raison d’etre of Nobel prizes.

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