pcmag.comWe review products independently, but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page. Terms of use. Alan Turing, one of the father's of computing and the head of the team of code-breakers that cracked the Enigma Code in World War II, will be the new face of the £50 note. The note will be put into circulation in 2021, making it the last of the new polymer banknotes and signalling the end of paper currency in the UK. Turing joins other figures such as Winston Churchill, Jane Austin, and artist JMW Turner who are on the back of the polymer £5, £10, and £20 notes, respectively. However Turing had a difficult relationship with the British government, which convicted him in 1952 for "gross indecency" because Turing had a relationship with another man. Turing was chemically castrated, and suffered from enlarged breasts and bloating due to the castration, later committing suicide. It was not until 2013 that he was given a posthumous pardon for his "crime". In spite of the gross homophobia he had to endure, Turing's legacy lives on today. His name is synonymous with machine learning and artificial intelligence in the form of the "Turing Test", by which a computer can be sufficiently artificially intelligent if it can fool a human judge into thinking they are conversing with another human rather than a machine. In a statement, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said that “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 giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.” Turing beat a number of other figures, including 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. The Bank received a total of 227,299 nominations of over 989 eligible figures; the committee shortlisted these down to 12 options, with Carney having the final decision.

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