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Gay WW2 hero Alan Turing will be the face of the UK £50 note

Gay WW2 hero Alan Turing will be the face of the UK £50 note

Alan Turing on the £50 note

Alan Turing will be the face of the £50 note, it was announced moments ago (15 July).

The Bank of England is honoring the gay World War 2 hero and father of computer science.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney, making the announcement, described him as a ‘giant’ that saved millions of lives.

Nearly a 1000 people were nominated to appear on the note.

The other shortlisted characters, or pairs of characters, considered were Mary Anning, Paul Dirac, Rosalind Franklin, William Herschel and Caroline Herschel, Dorothy Hodgkin, Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, Stephen Hawking, James Clerk Maxwell, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Sanger.

Fighting to pardon Alan Turing

Alan Turing is a World War 2 hero
Alan Turing is a World War 2 hero

Carney said: ‘Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today.

‘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 also giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.’

Former Manchester MP and gay rights campaigner John Leech fought for the government to pardon the scientist.

During the campaign, Leech submitted several bills to Parliament describing the long-held conviction as ‘utterly disgusting and ultimately just embarrassing’.

Leech, a former Liberal Democrat MP, said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted that Turing will be the face of the new £50 note. I hope it will go some way to acknowledging his unprecedented contribution to society and science.

‘It is a fitting and welcome tribute to a true Manchester hero.

‘But more importantly I hope it will also serve as a stark and rightfully painful reminder of what we lost, and what we risk when we allow that kind of hateful ideology to win.’

Alan Turing

Turing, who is considered the father of artificial intelligence, also worked as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park.

He also proposed a experiment known as the Turing Test, to discover if a machine could seem human.

In March 1953, the scientist was convicted of gross indecency for his relationship with a man. He was also banned from consulted with GCHQ due to his homosexuality.

Following this, he agreed to chemical castration as part of his sentence. He died of suicide the following year and did not receive a pardon until 2009.

Benedict Cumberbatch was nominated for an Academy Award for playing Turing in The Imitation Game.

See also

Alan Turing: World War II hero, social disgrace, gay icon

Gay computer hero Alan Turing named greatest person of 20th Century

This passionate speech about gay icon Alan Turing will move you to tears