Alan Turing Alan Turing £50 design New note revealed is
Thu, 25 Mar 2021 09:00:00 +0000
The banknote will enter circulation on 23 June – Alan Turing's birthday – and will be made of polymer
By Kevin Peachey
Personal finance correspondent, BBC News
The design of the Bank of England's new £50 note, featuring the computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing, has been revealed.
The banknote will enter circulation on 23 June, which would have been the mathematician's birthday.
It will be the last of the Bank's collection to switch from paper to polymer.
In keeping with Alan Turing's work, the set is its most secure yet.
Old paper £50 notes will still be accepted in shops for some time.
The work of Alan Turing, who was educated in Sherborne, Dorset, helped accelerate Allied efforts to read German Naval messages enciphered with the Enigma machine.
His work is said to have been key to shortening World War Two and saving lives.
Less celebrated is the pivotal role he played in the development of early computers, first at the National Physical Laboratory and later at the University of Manchester.
1912 – 1954
1912 Alan Mathison Turing was born in West London
1936 Produced “On Computable Numbers”, aged 24
1952 Convicted of gross indecency for his relationship with a man
2013 Received royal pardon for the conviction
In 2013, he was given a posthumous royal pardon for his 1952 conviction for gross indecency.
He had been arrested after having an affair with a 19-year-old Manchester man, and was forced to take female hormones as an alternative to prison.
He died at the age of 41.
An inquest recorded his death as suicide.
Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, 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 Bank is flying the rainbow flag above its Threadneedle Street building in London as a result.
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 women apart from the Queen, and all are white.
Steam engine pioneers James Watt and Matthew Boulton appear on the current £50 note, issued in 2011.
The new note will feature:
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.
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 new £50 note completes our set of polymer banknotes.
These are much harder to counterfeit, and with its security features the new £50 is part of our most secure series of banknotes yet."
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 "currency of corrupt elites, of crime of all sorts and of tax 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 embraced for his brilliance and persecuted for being gay," said current GCHQ Director Fleming.
"His legacy is a reminder of the value of embracing all aspects of diversity, but also the work we still need to do to become truly inclusive."
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Alan Turing Alan Turing
Thu, 25 Mar 2021 09:00:00 +0000
Mr Turing was a pioneer of modern computing and hugely instrumental in breaking the German Naval Enigma cipher in 1942, at Bletchley Park – GCHQ's wartime
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GCHQ has created its toughest puzzle ever in honour of Alan Turing appearing on the new £50 note.
The Bank of England revealed the note’s design featuring the scientist and mathematician on Thursday, as GCHQ officials said their new treasure hunt involving 12 puzzles “might even have left him scratching his head”.
Mr Turing was a pioneer of modern computing and hugely instrumental in breaking the German Naval Enigma cipher in 1942, at Bletchley Park – GCHQ’s wartime home.
To mark Alan Turing being made the face of #TheNew50, we’re setting you our toughest ever puzzle – the #TuringChallenge!
Can you hunt down the answers to 12 puzzles hidden on the new note? 🕵️♀️
Get to work ⬇️ https://t.co/m191L9nAgc pic.twitter.com/pHFzlLTPjD
— GCHQ (@GCHQ) March 25, 2021
Director of the cyber and intelligence agency Jeremy Fleming described him becoming the first gay man to appear on a banknote as confirming his status as “one of the most iconic LGBT+ figures in the world”.
Mr Fleming said: “Alan Turing’s appearance on the £50 note is a landmark moment in our history.
“Not only is it a celebration of his scientific genius, which helped to shorten the war and influence the technology we still use today, it also confirms his status as one of the most iconic LGBT+ figures in the world.
“Turing was embraced for his brilliance and persecuted for being gay.
“His legacy is a reminder of the value of embracing all aspects of diversity, but also the work we still need to do to become truly inclusive.”
The puzzles are based on the unique design elements of the new banknote, such as the technical drawings for the British Bombe, the machine designed by Mr Turing to break Enigma-enciphered messages.
Mr Turing’s great-nephew, James Turing, described the puzzle as a “wonderful tribute” which his family would be attempting to complete themselves.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it’s a wonderful recognition, and a bit reminiscent of the famous crossword that they used for recruiting at Bletchley Park back in the day.
“So, a wonderful tribute and certainly something we’ll be having a go at shortly.”
Here’s one to get you started with the #TuringChallenge
Puzzle 5️⃣ looks tricky, but our advice is to take it one letter at a time 🤫 #TheNew50
Find the other puzzles ⬇️https://t.co/m191L9nAgc pic.twitter.com/X969Zk7IYs
— GCHQ (@GCHQ) March 25, 2021
GCHQ officials said the full challenge could take an experienced puzzler seven hours to complete.
Colin, a GCHQ analyst and its chief puzzler, said: “Alan Turing has inspired many recruits over the years to join GCHQ, eager to use their own problem-solving skills to help to keep the country safe.
“So it seemed only fitting to gather a mix of minds from across our missions to devise a seriously tough puzzle to honour his commemoration on the new £50 note.
“It might even have left him scratching his head – although we very much doubt it.”
Mr Turing joined the Government Code & Cypher School – GCHQ’s wartime name – in 1938 to help with the code-breaking effort during the Second World War, working alongside Gordon Welchman.
In January 1940, Mr Turing had a meeting in Paris with Polish counterparts, who gave him the insights he needed to design the Bombe.
The combination of the Bombe and the brilliant minds and perseverance of those working at Bletchley Park led to the breaking of Enigma.
In January 1952, Mr Turing was prosecuted for “indecency” over his relationship with another man in Manchester, and was given a choice between imprisonment and probation on condition of undergoing hormone treatment.
In 1954, Mr Turing took his own life.
The puzzles can be found at www.gchq.gov.uk/information/turing-challenge.
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– March 25, 2021
Alan Turing 2021 New £50 note design is revealed