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WWII Code Breaker Mathematician Alan Turing To Feature On New GBP50 Note

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The Bank of England announced on Monday that the mathematician and World War II code breaker Alan Turing will appear on the new GBP 50 polymer note.

"Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today," Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said, while making the announcement at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester.

"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."

The bank said the new note is expected to enter circulation by the end of 2021.

The reverse of the new note will feature a photo of Turing taken in 1951 and a table and mathematical formulae from a seminal paper that is widely recognized as being the basis for computer science.

Further, the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) Pilot Machine, which was a trial model of Turing's pioneering ACE design and was one of the first electronic stored-program digital computers, will be shown.

The imagery also includes technical drawings for the British Bombe, the machine specified by Turing that was instrumental in breaking Enigma-enciphered messages during WWII, and a ticker tape depicting Turing's birth date 23 June 1912 in binary code.

Turing, a British mathematician, is considered the father of computer science and artificial intelligence.

The scientist played a pivotal role in the development of early computers and his code-breaking role within WWII was instrumental in the Battle of the Atlantic and is widely believed to have shortened the war, the bank said.

The "Turing Test" in artificial intelligence and, work on the morphogenetic theory to explain the natural patterns in living organisms, are other contributions from Turing.

He was convicted of "gross indecency" for a relationship with a man in March 1952, at a time when homosexuality was considered a crime in Britain. He accepted probation and underwent chemical castration to avoid a prison sentence.

Turing died in his home on June 8, 1954, due to cyanide poisoning, in what was an apparent suicide.

In 2009, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official posthumous apology for Turing's treatment. The mathematician received a royal pardon for the conviction in December 2013.

The "Alan Turing Law" was passed in 2017 that posthumously pardoned men cautioned or convicted in the past for outlawed homosexual acts.

In 2016, the Bank of England started issuing currency notes made of polymer, which a thin, flexible plastic material.

According to the bank, polymer notes are cleaner, safer and stronger. They can last longer and are more environment friendly than paper notes as they can be upcycled into new plastic items.

The bank has issued a polymer notes of GBP 5 and GBP 10 denominations in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The former features former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and latter has author Jane Austen on the reverse.

The GBP 20 polymer note will be issued in 2020 and will feature artist JMW Turner.

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