World War II codebreaker Alan Turing is
the face of Britain's new 50-pound note.
The Bank of England unveiled the design
on Thursday. It will be formally issued to the public on June 23,
England selected Turing as the new face
of the 50-pound note in 2019.
Turing is best known for the oversized
role he played in breaking the German Enigma machine code – a
triumph of computer science and a turning point for the Allies in
World War II.
Despite his heroic service to the war
effort, Turing was subjected to chemical castration after he
acknowledged to officials that he was gay. Nearly sixty years after
his death, Queen Elizabeth II posthumously pardoned Turing in 2013.
Thousands of gay and bisexual men
convicted of sexual offenses were posthumously pardoned under the
“Turing Law” introduced in 2016.
The brilliant mathematician was the
subject of the 2014 film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict
Cumberbatch as Turing.
The Bank of England noted Turing's
sexuality in its announcement.
“Turing is best known for his
codebreaking work at Bletchley Park, which helped end the Second
World War,” Bank of England Gov. Andrew Bailey said. “However, in
addition 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.”
Turing is believed to have taken his
own life by eating an apple laced with cyanide in 1954. He was 41.