Alan Turing will be the face of the Bank of England’s new £50 note

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The Bank of England has announced that Alan Turing’s will appear on British £50 notes starting 2021.

“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.”

Turing was a computer scientist whose innovative thinking was integral to breaking Nazi codes during World War II. Despite his heroic deeds, he was deemed a criminal less than a decade after the end of the war when he was found guilty of having sex with a man. He was sentenced to chemical castration in 1952 and eventually driven to suicide.

“It’s important that we remember and recognise the impact of LGBT figures throughout history, so it’s great that Alan Turing will be the face on the new £50 bank note,” Kim Sanders, director of communications at LGBTQ+ rights organisation Stonewall in the U.K, said in a statement. “It’s vital that we celebrate LGBT history, which is often less visible, and make sure that we represent the diversity of those who paved the way before us.”

Years after his death, Turing’s early contributions to technology have become more fully embraced, materialising in a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch, an official royal pardon in 2013, and other accolades.

The Bank of England received 227,299 nominations after it put a call out for suggestions for a scientist that should be featured on the £50 note. Finalists included Ada Lovelace and Stephen Hawking. The photo of Turing will be a 1951 portrait, his signature from the visitor’s book at the famed Bletchley Park, where code breaking efforts were concentrated during the war, and a quote of his from a 1949 interview with the Times of London: “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.”

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Comments 14

  1. While I think the ruling class should spend less time criticising bad things in the past to win political points and more time getting rid of bad things in the present (will never happen though), I think this is a great choice. Turing is a billion times better than any era’s ruling class.

  2. Well, I guess that makes everything good now. It’s like the U.S apologizing for crap it has done in the past and then electing a moron to run the place.

    1. You must mean by Divine Right, I presume horselips?
      I think only “her majesty’s” ass has any claim to that privilege. Now that’s what I’d call a “hole in one”. Nay?

  3. They totally destroyed this man and drove him to suicide and now they put him on a bank note!
    OMG! You can’t make this up.

    1. Times change but not as fast as we might like. The Wolfenden report that recommended depenalizing homosexual acts between consenting adults took over 10 years to be implemented. Certainly they didn’t change quickly enough for Alan Turing who fell victim to the hypocrisy that ruled at the time. It’s impossible to right such wrong doing but despite some reservations that I may have, the use of his portrait on a bank note will bring to the public’s attention a man who’s great intellect helped turn the tide on the war waged against Nazi Germany.

      Recommended viewing : 2007 TV film ‘Consenting Adults ( stars amongst others Charles Dance as Jack Wolfenden).

      1. 1. What is a homosexual act?

        2. Same-sex sex between consenting adults has never been illegal in Britain. In Turing’s time it was impossible to consent to that.

  4. All computer code and computer math is of the start of Gregory Cantor and his THEORY OF THE TRANS FINITE. OH ! Cantor is not English.
    — Do think Alan Turing creates the AC electric light bulb. No ? oh.
    —FUCK duh queen and the aristocracy which kills the one they now put forth as some sort of hero.
    — The English white slavery of their own they now excuse as a mistake but do not say how. The financing of black slavery here is some thing they say little.
    — As the most do of wrong, they APOLOGIZE. They are not sorry.
    —- FUCK the British.

  5. My first thought is that this is: 1) About damn time; and 2) Finally, a nice gesture for the gays who most definitely contributed to British society at large.

    Then after looking at the title and actually thinking about it, I started wondering: A £50 note? Just how common is that in a typical Brit’s pocket? I’m thinking, it’s comparable to a $100 bill in the pocket of a typical American in every-/any- day.

    So, I Googled: “how common for Brits to have a £50 note in their pocket” and the very first response is: When most people never see a £50 note, why have it? – BBC News ……. and a little bit further down: Why are our £50 notes rare/frowned upon? : AskUK – Reddit

    So, it looks like England really isn’t honoring Alan Turing nor gays in general. Homophobia [State sponsored] still exists in England.

    1. Perhaps the UK is much more advanced in the move towards a cash-less society ? Here in France, I often have 50 euro notes in my wallet, but I do quite a bit of my shopping in local out-door markets where cash is still ‘de rigueur’.

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