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First £50 note with face of mathematician Alan Turing issued by Bank of England today on what would have been his birthday

The first £50 note with the face of an early pioneer of computing has been issued today (Wednesday) on what would have been his birthday.

Alan Turing is known for his work in breaking the German Enigma code during the second world war, which helped to bring fighting to an end — saving many lives.

Sadly, Turing's ground-breaking work was not recognised during his time and, after breaking the code, was convicted and jailed for his relationship with a man as homosexuality was still illegal at the time.

The new £50 note. Picture: Bank of England (48514518)
The new £50 note. Picture: Bank of England (48514518)

He was posthumously pardoned by the Queen in 2013.

The design on the reverse of the note celebrates Alan Turing and his pioneering work with computers. It features:

  • A mathematical table and formulae from Turing’s seminal 1936 paper On Computable Numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society. This paper is widely recognised as being foundational for computer science
The new £50 note. Picture: Bank of England (48514515)
The new £50 note. Picture: Bank of England (48514515)
  • The Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) Pilot Machine which was developed at the National Physical Laboratory as the trial model of Turing’s pioneering ACE design. The ACE was one of the first electronic stored-program digital computers
  • Ticker tape depicting Alan Turing’s birth date (June 23, 1912) in binary code.
  • Technical drawings for the British Bombe, the machine specified by Turing and one of the primary tools used to break Enigma-enciphered messages during world war two
  • The flower-shaped red foil patch on the back of the note is based on the image of a sunflower head linked to Turing’s morphogenetic (study of patterns in nature) work in later life
  • A series of background images, depicting technical drawings from The ACE Progress Report

MP Robert Jenrick said: "Today the first £50 note with Alan Turing has been issued.

"His work breaking the Enigma code helped bring WWII to an end and saved lives. It’s important to make sure his legacy, which went tragically unacknowledged at the time, isn't forgotten."

Read more on Alan Turing's bank note here.

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