Alan Turing honoured as face of new £50 note

Alan Turing honoured as face of new £50 note

Computer pioneer Alan Turing is the face of the Bank of England’s new £50 note, which will enter circulation by the end of 2021.

The celebrated mathematician played key roles in deciphering encoded German messages during the Second World War and in the development of early computers.

“Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said.

“As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as a war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far-ranging and path-breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.”

Mr Turing, who was the subject of the 2014 biopic The Imitation Game, is well-known for his “Turing Test”, an informal method of determining whether a machine is “intelligent”.

In 2013 he received a posthumous royal pardon for his 1952 conviction for gross indecency over an affair he had with a 19-year-old man, following which he was chemically castrated. He died of cyanide poisoning (either deliberately or accidentally self-administered) in 1954.

Mr Turing was chosen from a shortlist of nominees that also included scientists Mary Anning, Paul Dirac, Rosalind Franklin, William and Caroline Herschel, Dorothy Hodgkin, Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, Stephen Hawking, James Clerk Maxwell, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Ernest Rutherford, Frederick Sanger.

The new £50 note will be the last of the Bank of England’s notes to transition from paper to polymer. Some 344 million £50 notes are in circulation with a combined value of £17.2 billion.

Mr Turing will replace steam engine pioneers James Watt and Matthew Boulton who have been the face of the current £50 issued in 2011.

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