In Britain, the story of Alan Turing is one steeped in national pride… as well as national shame.
Credited with cracking the Nazi Enigma code in the Second World War therefore bringing it to an end years earlier than was predicted, Turing’s work is though to have saved an estimated 30 millions lives in the process.
Turing was arrested in 1954 for gross indecency due to his relationship with a 19 year old man from Manchester and was forced to take female hormones instead of going to prison. He committed suicide at age 41.
His life story was immortalised in 2014 in Oscar winning hit film The Imitation Game where he was portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch who went on to campaign for posthumous pardons for gay men convicted of the same crime, for which Turing received a Royal pardon in 2013.
Today the new design for the British £50 note was unveiled by the Bank of England bearing Turing’s picture and legacy. The bank’s governor, Andrew Bailey, said ‘He was a leading mathematician, developmental biologist, and a pioneer in the field of computer science. He was also gay, and was treated appallingly as a result. By placing him on our new polymer £50 banknote, we are celebrating his achievements, and the values he symbolises.’
The new note (which is the highest value in the Sterling currency) will be released into national circulation on June 23rd which would have been Turing’s birthday.