World War II code breaker Alan Turing honored on new British banknote | History News

 World War II code breaker Alan Turing honored on new British banknote |  History News

The Bank of England has unveiled a new design for the high-value British banknote featuring WWII gay codebreaker Alan Turing, celebrating diversity even as cash falls out of favor.
The more durable and tamper-resistant 50-pound polymer banknote (around $ 70) will enter circulation on June 23, Turing’s birthday, the UK central bank said on Thursday.

Turing was a mathematician and is considered the father of modern computing. He led a team at British Bletchley Park that cracked the Nazis’ Enigma code in 1941.

“He was also gay and was treated appallingly as a result,” Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said in a statement.

“By placing it on our new £ 50 polymer banknote, we are celebrating its achievements and the values ​​it symbolizes.”

The new note, which is loaded with high-level security features, completes the bank’s renewal of its stable paper currency over the past few years.

Turing’s image joins that of Winston Churchill on the five-pound note, novelist Jane Austen on the ten-pound note, and artist JMW Turner on the 20-pound note.

Turing, who was educated at the University of Cambridge, developed the “Turing Test,” which examines the criteria necessary to judge whether a machine can think like a human – the basis of artificial intelligence.

But he was prosecuted in 1952 for “gross indecency” and was forced to undergo chemical castration as an alternative to prison. He committed suicide two years later, shortly before his 42nd birthday.

In 1967, Great Britain decriminalized homosexuality between men over the age of 21.

Turing’s life story was turned into a 2014 film called The Imitation Game, starring Oscar-nominated British actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Turing received a posthumous pardon in 2013, and his name also lives on in a new student exchange program launched by the government after Britain left the European Union.

The new 50-pound note will replace a paper bill featuring industrial revolution engineer James Watt and his funder, Matthew Boulton.

The new notes are all made of polymer, which lasts longer than paper and is more difficult to forge.

However, liquidity is declining in the long run, and higher value notes are little used for daily payments except anecdotally by drug dealers and other criminals.

In 2017, debit cards overtook cash as Britain’s most widely used payment method, according to the Bank of England, and the trend accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, with customers preferring them. contactless cards.

But the central bank, while admitting that Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are also making inroads, insists that cash will remain a key part of the economy for years to come.


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