The new £50 – featuring Alan Turing, the scientist best known for his codebreaking work during the second world war – will give the note’s image a makeover. Its arrival is notable as it means the Bank of England has now completed its switch away from paper money.
To celebrate, we brought together a panel of #AI experts, data scientists and writers to discuss Turing’s legacy
— The Alan Turing Institute (@turinginst) June 23, 2021
Turing is best known in Britain for designing machines to decrypt coded messages during World War Two, and before the war his work laid the theoretical foundation for modern computer science. Later he made discoveries in developmental biology.
“Placing him on this new banknote is a recognition of his contributions to our society, and a celebration of his remarkable life,” BoE Governor Andrew Bailey said.
Turing was gay at a time when sex between men was illegal in Britain. He received a criminal conviction as a result in 1952, lost his security clearance, and died of cyanide poisoning less than two years later in what coroners ruled was suicide.
Britain’s government issued a posthumous pardon in 2013 and Bailey said Turing had been treated appallingly while alive.
As part of this week’s publicity drive, it was announced that Snapchat had teamed up with the Bank of England to turn the new note into an interactive celebration of Turing, creating an augmented reality lens that brings the banknote to life when seen through a smartphone camera.