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The Bank of England: Alan Turing will be “the face” of the new £50 note. He was, among other things, one of the fathers of modern computing
Alan Turing, one of the fathers of modern computing, will be the face of the new £50 note. It has been announced by the Bank of England. It is expected to enter circulation by the end of 2021. Turing was a mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist. During the World War II, he worked at Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, developing different tools and codes to help the military against the Germans, as a pioneering electro-mechanical device called “The Bombe”. Turing’s work is regarded by historians as vital to the war effort, helping to shorten the conflict by perhaps two years. Nevertheless, in 1952 was prosecuted for homosexual acts in the UK and he accepted chemical castration treatment, with DES, as an alternative to prison. He died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning.
His name was rehabilitated in 2009, and finally Turing was recognized as a hero and a genius
Following a big petition, on 10 september 2009 the UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, released a statement apologising and describing the treatment of Turing as “appalling”. So, his name was rehabilitated and the father of modern computing science was recognized as a hero and a genius. To mark the 100th anniversary of his birth, the Turing Centenary Advisory Committee (TCAC) co-ordinated the Alan Turing Year, a year-long programme of events around the world honouring Turing’s life and achievements. The TCAC, chaired by S. Barry Cooper with Turing’s nephew Sir John Dermot Turing acting as Honorary President, worked with the University of Manchester faculty members and a broad spectrum of people from Cambridge University and Bletchley Park. Furthermore, his life became two movies: Codebreaker and The Imitation Game. Finally, the Bank of England decided to use the imagery depicting Alan Turing and his work for the reverse of the £50 note.
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England: Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand
“Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, commented. “As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.” Sarah John, Chief Cashier, said: “The strength of the shortlist is testament to the UK’s incredible scientific contribution. The breadth of individuals and achievements reflects the huge range of nominations we received for this note and I would to thank the public for all their suggestions of scientists we could celebrate.”
Photo Credits: Bank of England