Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician, WWII code-breaker, and the founding father of modern computer science, will be the face of Britain’s new £50 note, the Bank of England has announced.

The note should enter circulation in late 2021 and will feature a photograph of the scientist along with technical drawings of his ground-breaking work.

The bill also references his 1937 paper titled: On computable numbers with an application to the Entscheidungs problem, where he posits that some problems are not solveable.

Turing also contributed to biology and chemistry during his short life.

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Of all his achievements, it is likely his code-breaking work at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire during WWII that he is best known for.

Turing was born in 1912 in London, England and studied at Cambridge and Princeton Universities. In 1939, he began a full-time job at Bletchley, working on top-secret projects that deciphered German codes sent to allies.

His work focused on cracking messages sent by the German Armed Forces on a machine called The Enigma. Turing was instrumental in the invention of a device called the Bombe, which was created in collaboration with Gordon Welchman. It helped make code-breaking easier, allowing Bletchley officials to read German Air Force signals and assist war efforts.

In addition to countless other code-breaking innovations, Turing invented the universal Turing machine, which is considered to be the starting point for stored-memory computers. His work at the National Physical Laboratory is regarded as the predecessor of the modern computer.


In 1952 Turing was arrested for homosexuality, which was then considered illegal in Britain. He was found guilty of ‘gross indecency,’ but avoided prison by agreeing to undergo a horrific chemical castration.

Turing was found dead in his home in June 1954 at the age of 41 in an apparent suicide. On Christmas Eve 2013, the Queen signed a posthumous pardon for him.

His life was chronicled in the 2014 film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.