Alan Turing to feature on new £50 banknote

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14 July 2019
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Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, has announced that Alan Turing will appear on the new £50 polymer note, which is expected to enter circulation by the end of 2021.

Alan Turing was chosen following the Bank of England's selection process including advice from scientific experts.

According to The Bank, they received a total of 227,299 nominations, covering 989 eligible characters. The Committee considered all the nominations before deciding on a shortlist of twelve options, which were put to the Governor for him to make the final decision, and were as follows:

  • Mary Anning
  • Paul Dirac
  • Rosalind Franklin
  • William Herschel and Caroline Herschel
  • Dorothy Hodgkin
  • Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage
  • Stephen Hawking
  • James Clerk Maxwell
  • Srinivasa Ramanujan
  • Ernest Rutherford
  • Frederick Sanger
  • Alan Turing

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said:

“Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today. 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.” 

Alan Turing provided the theoretical underpinnings for the modern computer.

While best known for his work devising code-breaking machines during WWII, Turing played a pivotal role in the development of early computers first at the National Physical Laboratory and later at the University of Manchester. He set the foundations for work on artificial intelligence by considering the question of whether machines could think.

Turing was homosexual and was posthumously pardoned by the Queen having been convicted of gross indecency for his relationship with a man. His legacy continues to have an impact on both science and society today.