Alan Turing on a banknote
The new £50 note. © Bank of England .
The Bank of England has unveiled its new £50 banknote, which features famous English mathematician Alan Turing, born in 1912 in London. Turing is best known for contributing to the decryption of messages encoded by the Enigma machine used by the Germans during World War II, and for his important role in the creation of the first computers. Homosexual, he was convicted in 1952 of “indecency” after having a relationship with a man, then underwent a year-long chemical castration. Shaken and banned from working for British intelligence, he died in 1954 at the age of 41, from what appears to be suicide. In 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized on behalf of the United Kingdom for the treatment suffered by the mathematician, who had already obtained the royal pardon posthumously in 2013. Last month, the new head of MI6 apologized publicly to LGBT operatives who were kicked out of the intelligence agency, a practice discontinued in 1991.
The polymer note will go into circulation on June 23 of this year. It includes a number of designs related to Turing’s life and legacy. Turing replaces Matthew Boulton and James Watt, the British steam engine pioneers, who have been featured on the £50 note since 2011.
⇨ The Verge, James Vincent, “The UK’s new £50 note celebrates Alan Turing with lots of geeky Easter eggs.”