The father of modern computing and World War 2 code-breaker Alan Turing will feature on Britain’s new £50 note, the Bank of England has said. Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking were among those shortlisted to be featured on the currency note.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Turing would appear on the new note by the end of 2021. “Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” Carney added. “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.”
Asked why Turing was chosen from a shortlist of 12 scientists, the Bank of England said the mathematician 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,” said the central bank.
In 2013, Turing, who was gay, was posthumously pardoned by the Queen for his 1952 conviction for “gross indecency”. He was chemically castrated following the conviction, BBC reported. He was arrested for having an affair with a 19-year-old man.
“His legacy continues to have an impact on both science and society today,” said the Bank of England .
In 2018, the Banknote Character Advisory Committee decided to celebrate the field of science on the £50 pound. The bank received 2,27,299 nominations for 989 scientists during a six-week public nomination period.
The committee, along with public focus groups, created a shortlist of 12 scientists, which included 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 and Turing.