Earlier this year, Alan Turing was named the most iconic figure of the 20th Century. He is now the new image on the Bank of England’s £50 Note. What’s interesting, this is the last banknote to move from paper to polymer. People will be able to use this note at the end of 2021.
Alan Turing worked for the British Government’s Code and Cipher School before WW II, He was a brilliant mathematician who cracked codes during World War Two. It is believed that he and other code breakers shortened the war by several years.
In 1939, he worked at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. He was involved in top-secret work and was able to crack Germany’s military codes. Turing’s main job was to crack a code known as the Enigma Code. The code got its name from the machine called the Enigma used by the Germans to send secret messages.
Turing and Gordon Welchman, another code breaker, invented the machine called the Bombe. This machine helped to significantly reduce the work of the code-breakers.
Because he spent the majority of his life working in secret, it was not until many years after his death that his legacy, life, and work came to light. Due to his efforts during the war, he had an enormous influence on the development of computer science and artificial intelligence. There is no wonder why Alan Turing has been honored on the £ 50 note!
Because being homosexual was illegal in Britain back then, in 1952 Turing was arrested for being gay. In 2013, he was posthumously pardoned which is the term for being pardoned after one’s death. Turing died on June 7, 1954. In 2017, the government agreed to officially pardon men accused of similar crimes and expunged their criminal records.
This pardon is known as the Alan Turing Law.