New Alan Turing £50 note style is disclosed

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By Kevin Peachey

Personal money contributor, BBC News

picture copyrightBank of England

picture inscriptionThe £50 note will certainly be made from polymer for the very first time

The style of the Bank of England’s brand-new £50 note, including the computer system leader and also codebreaker Alan Turing, has actually been disclosed.

The banknote will certainly go into blood circulation on 23 June, which would certainly have been the mathematician’s birthday celebration.

It will certainly be the last of the Bank’s collection to change from paper to polymer. In maintaining with Alan Turing’s job, the collection is its most safe yet.

Old paper £50 notes will certainly still be approved in look for a long time.

Why is Alan Turing on the note?

The job of Alan Turing, that was informed in Sherborne, Dorset, assisted increase Allied initiatives to check out German Naval messages enciphered with the Enigma equipment. His job is claimed to have actually been essential to reducing World War Two and also conserving lives.

Less popular is the essential function he played in the growth of very early computer systems, initially at the National Physical Laboratory and also later on at the University of Manchester.

BBC copyright

BBC copyright

Alan Turing

1912 – 1954

  • 1912 Alan Mathison Turing was birthed in West London

  • 1936 Produced “On Computable Numbers”, aged 24

  • 1952 Convicted of gross lewdness for his partnership with a male

  • 2013 Received imperial excuse for the sentence

Source: BBC

In 2013, he was provided a posthumous imperial excuse for his 1952 sentence for gross lewdness. He had actually been apprehended after having an event with a 19-year-old Manchester guy, and also was required to take women hormonal agents as an option to jail. He passed away at the age of 41. An inquest videotaped his fatality as self-destruction.

Andrew Bailey, the guv of the Bank of England, claimed: “He was a leading mathematician, developmental biologist, and a pioneer in the field of computer science.

“He was likewise gay, and also was dealt with appallingly consequently. By putting him on our brand-new polymer £50 banknote, we are commemorating his success, and also the worths he symbolizes.”

The Bank is flying the rainbow flag above its Threadneedle Street building in London as a result.

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However, campaigners are still questioning how much the Bank’s collection of banknotes represents society. Three feature men – Winston Churchill on the £5 note, JMW Turner on the £20 note, and soon Alan Turing on the £50 note. Only the £10 note, with the portrait of Jane Austen, depicts a woman apart from the Queen, and all are white.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Bailey said he wanted to see diverse ethnic minorities represented on future banknotes.

He added that the portrait of Mr Turing on the new £50 note was an important symbol of diversity.

What features are on the note?

Steam engine pioneers James Watt and Matthew Boulton appear on the current £50 note, issued in 2011.

The new note will feature:

  • A photo of Turing taken in 1951 by Elliott and Fry, and part of the National Portrait Gallery’s collection
  • A table and mathematical formulae from Turing’s 1936 paper “On Computable Numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem” – foundational for computer science
  • The Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) Pilot Machine – the trial model of Turing’s design and one of the first electronic stored-program digital computers
  • Technical drawings for the British Bombe, the machine specified by Turing and one of the primary tools used to break Enigma-enciphered messages
  • A quote from Alan Turing, given in an interview to The Times newspaper on 11 June 1949: “This is just a foretaste of what is ahead, and also just the darkness of what is mosting likely to be”
  • His signature from the visitor’s book at Max Newman’s House in 1947 which is on display at Bletchley Park
  • Ticker tape depicting Alan Turing’s birth date (23 June 1912) in binary code. The concept of a machine fed by binary tape featured in Turing’s 1936 paper

image copyrightBank of England

image captionSarah John, the Bank of England’s chief cashier, whose signature is on the note

There are also a series of security features, similar to other notes, including holograms, see-through windows – based partly on images of Bletchley Park – and foil patches.

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The Bank also says that plastic banknotes are more durable and harder to forge.

Sarah John, the Bank’s chief cashier whose signature features on the note, said: “This brand-new £50 note finishes our collection of polymer banknotes. These are much more challenging to imitation, and also with its protection includes the brand-new £50 belongs to our most safe collection of banknotes yet.”

Do we need a £50 note?

The £50 note is the least likely to be in people’s wallets or purses.

There were 351 million £50 notes in circulation last year, out of a total of nearly four billion Bank of England notes.

The government has previously discussed whether it should be abolished.

The banknote was described by Peter Sands, former chief executive of Standard Chartered bank, as the “money of corrupt elites, of criminal offense of all types and also of tax obligation evasion”.

The debate continues, with the added element that cash use has declined, particularly during the Covid pandemic.

The UK’s intelligence agency GCHQ has set what it describes as its toughest ever puzzle to mark the new note.

Twelve puzzles – called the Turing Challenge – increase in complexity leading to one final answer. The agency’s in-house experts claim that ‘an experienced puzzler’ should be able to complete it in just seven hours.

Few clues are provided other than that each is based on unique design elements of the banknote, including technical drawings for the device designed by Turing during World War Two to break the German Enigma code at Bletchley Park.

Although Turing was, among other accomplishments, the co-creator of the first computer chess programme he claimed not to be that good at puzzles himself.

The new note though marks another step in the recognition of a man whose wartime work was secret, and who took his own life soon after his conviction for homosexuality in 1952.

“Turing was accepted for his radiance and also maltreated for being gay,” said current GCHQ Director Fleming. “His tradition is a suggestion of the worth of accepting all elements of variety, yet likewise the job we still require to do to come to be genuinely comprehensive.”