Alan Turing, the new face of the £ 50 bill


The Bank of England presented this Thursday (25) the design of the new £ 50 (£ 50) banknote, which will go into circulation from June 23, 2021. The face on the banknote is that of Alan Turing, the British scientist and programmer considered one of the fathers of modern computing.

In addition to recognized academic articles, which were the basis for topics such as Artificial Intelligence and the functioning of computers, he was one of those responsible for helping to decode enemy messages during World War II – a fact portrayed in the biography O Jogo do Imitação (2015) , with Benedict Cumberbatch living the researcher.

Turing was a homosexual, and today he is seen as a symbol of LGBTQ + resistance, as well as an example of the terrible practices of British legislation that were still in place a few decades ago. Following UK law, he was convicted of “repulsive indecency” and received injections for chemical castration.

He died in 1954 under circumstances still unclear, but with clues that indicate a possible suicide. He only received the official pardon from the British Crown in 2013, with a document signed by Queen Elizabeth II.

Meet the ballot

Turing’s banknote is the last of a value that was already in circulation to be replaced by a polymer model – the previous ones were on paper, more easily forged.

The ballot features a photo of the scientist taken in 1951, as well as a mathematical formula and equipment designed by Turing. The date of birth of the honoree appears in binary code.

There is also a phrase coined by the author in an interview given to a newspaper years after the war: “This is just an anticipated taste of what is to come, just a shadow of what will be”. Even the symbol that identifies the veracity of the banknote has been altered to look like a computer chip.

“It is not just a celebration of his scientific genius, which helped to shorten the war and influence the technology we use today. The note also confirms his status as one of the most iconic LGBTQ + figures in the world. (…) His legacy is a reminder of the value of embracing all aspects of diversity, and also the work we still have to do to be truly inclusive, “says government communications director Jeremy Fleming.