The gay scientist and codebreaker has been touted as one of potential faces for the bank note.
The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney recently announced a competition to replace the inventor James Watt as the face of the £50 note. Nominations can be cast here.
The figure must come come from the world of science and people like Ada Lovelace and Stephen Hawking are emerging as some of the frontrunners. However, one of the other frontrunners is the scientist and codebreaker Alan Turning.
Turing was best known for helping in the effort to crack the German Enigma codes, something which is credited with bringing World War II to end years earlier than expected. Turing is also widely credited as the grandfather of modern computing.
However, due to his sexuality, Alan Turing was chemically castrated and barred from working for GCHQ, and eventually driven to suicide.
But since the advancement of LGBTQ rights, Turing has gained his rightful place in LGBTQ history and had his accomplishments widely recognised. A law which pardoned thousands of gay and bisexual men who were convicted under now-abolished anti-LGBTQ offences was named in his honour, and Turing himself was royally pardoned in 2013.
An editorial published in the London Evening Standard called for either Turing or Lovelace to become the face of the note. The editorial said: “Or how about Alan Turing, the genius whose eponymous Turing machine became the first general purpose computer?
“His work at Bletchley Park, which led to the cracking of the Nazi Enigma code, is widely regarded to have ended the Second World War early and saved millions of lives.
“Not only was he not recognised in his lifetime; he was convicted of homosexuality by the country he helped to rescue, chemically castrated and committed suicide.
“Lovelace and Turing are two great Britons. It’s time we literally put our money where our mouths are and recognise at least one of them on our new banknote.”
Turing has attracted a lot of support since the announcement, including from the BBC’s Business editor Simon Jack and sitting MPs.
FWIW – my suggestion for £50 note is Alan Turing.
— Simon Jack (@BBCSimonJack) November 2, 2018
I’ve nominated Alan Turing to be the face of the £50 note. A great hero, whose science helped defeat Hitler, Turing was betrayed by the country he helped save because he was gay. The @bankofengland can take this small step towards righting that wrong. https://t.co/DlzHEDM9iZ
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) November 3, 2018
It's gotta be Alan Turing, surely? He had a gigantic impact on WW2 and practically invented computer science. Even more thoroughly deserved given how badly he was treated. https://t.co/1MzUqh1Ofu
— Hannah Fry (@FryRsquared) November 2, 2018
I strongly believe that Alan Turing should feature on the new £50 note.
— Ben Wallace MP (@BWallaceMP) November 2, 2018
I’ve nominated Alan Turing.
He created modern computing. His work was crucial in cracking Enigma, and therefore helping the Allies win the war.
He was gay. And after the war was prosecuted and mutilated by the state. Honouring him would send a powerful signal to LGBT+ people. https://t.co/BZwB91aGgR
— Seb Dance MEP (@SebDance) November 2, 2018