Alan Turing is the New Face of the £50 Note

By Tom Pritchard on at

Last year the Treasury announced that the lesser-used £50 note will also be getting the fancy plastic upgrade as the more popular English bank notes. But it wasn't so forthcoming with the name of the person set to share the monetary real estate with her Majesty the Queen. Instead it was asking for suggestions from the common folk, to see who they thought would be a good fit. Provided they were a) dead, and b) a scientist.

The recently-deceased Stephen Hawking popped up a lot, but now it's been announced that a different science man will be featured on the note only drug dealers and tourists seem to use. It's Alan Turing, the man who put all that effort into helping the Allies break German codes and helped invent the first modem computer in the process. And the same man who was then persecuted to suicide for being gay, because the "good old days" weren't actually that good for a lot of people.

The note is set to enter circulation in 2021, complete with all the same new security features as the ones we've seen already. Maybe this means the shops will accept them without looking like you walked in with three heads.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney said:

"Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today.

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."

Other candidates on the final shortlist 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, and Frederick Sanger. All a bit different from Margaret Thatcher who apparently popped up in the earlier stages. [BBC News]