Computer Scientist Alan Turing Will Appear on the New Bank of England £50 Note

The Bank of England has finally unveiled which British scientist will don its highest bank note: Alan Turing.
Fabienne Lang
New £50 note.Bank of England

Revered British computer pioneer and code-breaker Alan Turing will be the new face of the Bank of England's £50 note

Turing's code-cracking proved essential to the Allied forces during World War Two.


Some controversy as to why the Bank even needs a £50 note harkened, as it's called the "currency of the elite," with few people ever even handling the note. 

Regardless, this is the last of the pound sterling notes to come out into circulation in its new polymer look and will be out in public by the end of 2021.

Why Turing?

Mark Carney, the Bank of England's governor, said: "Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today." 

Carney continued, "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." 

His legacy continues to have a major impact on the scientific and social world of today.

Turing wasn't the only contender, however. The Bank had asked the public to offer their suggestions for which scientist they deemed the best fit and most worthy for the country's £50 note. 

Amazingly, in the space of six weeks, the Bank received 227,299 answers with a total of 989 potential scientists. 

Governor Carney ultimately had the ruling decision, after a committee of experts from the scientific field drew up a shortlist of candidates. Familiar names such as Stephen Hawking, Rosalind Franklin, and Ada Lovelace, amongst others, appeared on the final list. 

The Brits will have to wait until the end of 2021, however, before seeing Turing's face appear on their highest banknote.


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