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World War II codebreaker to be face of Bank of England's new £50 note

The Bank of England said that Alan Turing played a pivotal role in the development of early computers.

Image: Bank of England

WORLD WAR II code-breaker Alan Turing has been chosen to feature on the back of Britain’s new £50 banknote, according to the Bank of England. 

Due to enter circulation by the end of 2021, the note shows a photo of Turing taken in 1951.

“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 he unveiled the note at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester.

“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,” the chief added.

The Bank of England said that Turing played a pivotal role in the development of early computers.

Turing received a posthumous pardon from Queen Elizabeth II in 2013 over a conviction in 1952 for gross indecency with a 19-year-old man.

He did not go to prison but was chemically castrated and died of cyanide poisoning in an apparent suicide in 1954, aged 41.

In 2017, the Alan Turing Law posthumously pardoned men who had been cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts in Britain.

The Oscar-winning 2014 film The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch brought belated acclaim for Turing’s role in wartime code-breaking.

The Bank of England is putting new faces on Britain’s banknotes as it switches from paper to polymer, a thin, flexible plastic film that is seen as more durable and secure.

The new £20 note, due to enter circulation next year, will feature artist J. M. W. Turner on its back.

The new polymer £5 and £10 notes already in circulation show wartime leader Winston Churchill and author Jane Austen respectively.

Queen Elizabeth II features on the front of Britain’s bank notes.

- © AFP 2019

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