Gay Codebreaker Alan Turing to be Featured on British Bank Note

A pioneering British mathematician whose codebreaking helped end World War II but was persecuted under anti-homosexuality laws is to be honored on British bank notes.

Alan Turing, credited by many as the father of modern computing, will be featured on the £50 ($63) note starting in 2021, the Bank of England said Monday.

Image: British mathematician Alan Turing will be on the new 50 pound note.
British mathematician Alan Turing will be on the new 50 pound note.Bank of England

“As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far-ranging and pathbreaking,” the bank’s governor, Mark Carney, said in a statement.

Turing’s work on codebreaking was instrumental in the Allied victory in World War II, and he was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1945.

However, he was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 for sexual relations with another man and avoided prison by accepting chemical castration.



‘Homophiles’: The LGBTQ rights movement began long before Stonewall

His personal life became subject to intense scrutiny, with British security officials concerned his sexuality was a security risk.

Turing died June 7, 1954, of cyanide poisoning; a half-eaten apple was found beside his bed. An inquest recorded a verdict of suicide.

Turing was pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013 after years of campaigning by the mathematician’s many supporters. The then-Justice Minister Chris Grayling labeled his conviction “unjust and discriminatory”.

The bank note will feature Turing’s signature and one of his quotes: “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.”