Who will appear on the U.K.’s new £50 note?

Answer: Alan Turing.

by / July 16, 2019

The Bank of England revealed Monday that the new design for its £50 note will feature the image of Alan Turing. Turing was a British scientist and mathematician who helped break the code for the Enigma encryption devices used by the Germans during the second World War. It is estimated that cracking the code ended the war four years sooner, saving 21 million lives.

Turing is widely regarded as the father of modern computing, completing work at the National Physical Laboratory and later at the University of Manchester that was instrumental in early computer development. “He set the foundations for work on artificial intelligence by considering the question of whether machines could think,” the Bank said in a statement.

In 1952, Turing was prosecuted for homosexual acts and ordered to undergo chemical castration. He died two years later — it was later concluded that he committed suicide, and in 2013 he received a royal pardon. John Leech, former Liberal Democrat member of Parliament for Manchester Withington who helped lead the campaign for Turing’s pardon, called the new note a “massive acknowledgement of his mistreatment and unprecedented contribution to society.”

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