Alan Turing’s £ 50 banknote enters circulation

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Alan Turing’s £ 50 banknote has started to come into circulation, coinciding with the birthday of the Bletchley Park code breaker.

he new Bank of England polymer note will be available at bank branches and ATMs in the days and weeks to come.

Celebrating the life of Mr Turing, the Bank of England also hoisted the Progress Pride flag above its building on Threadneedle Street in London on Wednesday.

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Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey with the new £ 50 note, with Alan Turing, at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes (Joe Giddens / PA)

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey with the new £ 50 note, with Alan Turing, at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes (Joe Giddens / PA)

Often considered the father of computing, Mr. Turing played a pivotal role in breaking the Enigma code and his legacy had a lasting impact on the way we live today.

Cracking the Enigma code would have helped shorten WWII by at least two years, saving millions of lives.

The Enigma cipher machine, adopted by the German armed forces to send messages securely, was considered unbreakable.

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An Enigma machine of the type used by Alan Turing (Dominic Lipinski / PA)


An Enigma machine of the type used by Alan Turing (Dominic Lipinski / PA)

An Enigma machine of the type used by Alan Turing (Dominic Lipinski / PA)

Mr Turing was part of an Enigma research section working at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire.

The first Enigma war messages were deciphered in January 1940, and Enigma traffic continued to be routinely halted for the remainder of the war.

Speaking in Bletchley Park, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said: “Our banknotes celebrate some of our country’s most important historical figures.

“That’s why I’m delighted Alan Turing is featured on the new £ 50 polymer note.

Placing him (Alan Turing) on ​​this new banknote is an acknowledgment of his contributions to our society and a celebration of his remarkable lifeGovernor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey

“After undertaking remarkable decoding work here in Bletchley Park during World War II, he continued to pioneer early computers, as well as making groundbreaking discoveries in developmental biology.

“He was also gay and was treated appallingly as a result. Placing it on this new banknote is recognition of his contributions to our society and a celebration of his remarkable life. “

Born June 23, 1912, Mr. Turing studied mathematics at King’s College, Cambridge University, graduating with a first-class honors degree in 1934. He was elected a member of the College.

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Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey hands a new £ 50 note to Bletchley Park Managing Director Iain Standen (Joe Giddens / PA)


Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey hands a new £ 50 note to Bletchley Park Managing Director Iain Standen (Joe Giddens / PA)

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey hands a new £ 50 note to Bletchley Park Managing Director Iain Standen (Joe Giddens / PA)

In 1936, his book On Computable Numbers is believed to have given birth to the idea of ​​how computers could work.

His “Turing test” also looked at the behavior necessary for a machine to be considered intelligent – the basis of artificial intelligence.

The war hero’s subsequent life was overshadowed by a conviction for same-sex activity, which was later viewed as unfair and discriminatory.

Mr. Turing was convicted of gross indecency for his relationship with a man. His conviction resulted in the removal of his security clearance and prevented him from working for the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

He was chemically castrated following his conviction in 1952 and died in 1954 at the age of 41.

He then obtained a royal pardon posthumously.

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The new banknote contains advanced security features which make it very difficult to counterfeit (Bank of England / PA)


The new banknote contains advanced security features which make it very difficult to counterfeit (Bank of England / PA)

The new banknote contains advanced security features which make it very difficult to counterfeit (Bank of England / PA)

The new £ 50 polymer banknote contains advanced security features, complementing what the Bank has described as its most secure set of banknotes to date.

The note will join the Sir Winston Churchill £ 5, the Jane Austen £ 10 and the JMW Turner £ 20, meaning all Bank of England banknotes are now available in polymer.

The Bank has also said that September 30, 2022 will be the last day people can use its £ 20 and £ 50 paper notes. After that, paper banknotes will no longer be legal tender, so people have to spend them or deposit them at their bank first.

Bank of England Chief Cashier Sarah John said: “The £ 50 polymer banknote is the most secure Bank of England banknote to date, and the features of the note make it very difficult to counterfeit.

“All of our polymer banknotes can be verified by looking for two key security features: an image-changing hologram; and transparent windows. So if you can verify one banknote denomination, you can verify them all.

“The new £ 50 banknotes, like the £ 10 and £ 20 polymer banknotes, contain a tactile feature to help visually impaired people identify the denomination.”

The Bank of England Museum has also launched an online exhibition to coincide with the putting into circulation of the £ 50 Turing banknote.

The use of cash fell sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, with several stores discouraging customers from using this payment method.

The number of cash payments made last year has fallen by 35%, according to recent figures released by the UK Finance trade association.

Coins and banknotes were used for 17% of all payments in the UK last year, while 27% of payments were contactless, according to figures from UK Finance.


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