Re: Eric Laithwaite
Unfortunately Laithwaite believed that the behaviour of gyroscopes violated the law of conservation of energy! According to the Royal Institution web site he "appears to have used various engineering approximations in his calculations on the behaviour or gyroscopes and when told by professional mathematicians that once the calculations were done rigorously there was no discrepancy, refused to believe them."
The affair harmed his career considerably – he left his position at the Royal Institution and was never elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society.
Perhaps not the best role model to have on a £50 note.