In 2019, The Bank of England revealed Alan Turing as the new face of the £50 banknote.

In their search to find an eminent British scientist to feature on the £50 note, a total of 227,299 nominations were sent to The Bank of England. 989 eligible characters were narrowed down to a shortlist of just 12 before Turing was finally selected.

Change Checker is so excited to reveal that today the design of this BRAND NEW £50 note has been officially confirmed by The Bank of England.

Source: Bank of England.

In keeping with Turing’s code-breaking legacy, this brand new £50 has been declared as the most secure yet.

What features on the new £50 note?

UK £50 Banknote. Source: The Bank of England.

This brand new banknote is FULL of exciting features. Including:

  • A photo of Turing from 1951 which is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s collection
  • A table and mathematical formulae from Turing’s 1936 paper “On Computable Numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem”
  • A design of Turing’s trial model of his famous Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) Pilot Machine
  • Technical drawings for the British Bombe, one of the primary tools used to break Enigma-enciphered messages
  • A quote from Turing, from an interview in The Times newspaper (June 1949): “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be”
  • His signature from the visitor’s book at Max Newman’s House in 1947 which is on display at Bletchley Park
  • Ticker tape depicting Alan Turing’s birth date (23 June 1912) in binary code.

In addition to these amazing design features, there are of course a series of security features, similar to those we’ve seen on our £5, £10, and £20 polymer notes, including holograms and see-through windows.

GCHQ Collaboration

 In recognition of Turing’s code-breaking expertise, the Bank of England have collaborated with GCHQ on the intelligence and cyber agency’s toughest puzzle ever – based on the Turing £50 bank note design.

GCHQ’s Turing Challenge is a set of 12 puzzles that have been put together by intelligence staff at GCHQ, where problem solving and a diverse mix of minds are at the heart of its work to help protect the UK from increasingly complex threats

Who was Alan Turing and why is he being featured on a £50 note?

Alan Turing Aged 16 – Credit: TuringArchive.org

Alan Turing was most famously known for accelerating Allied efforts to read German Naval messages enciphered with the Enigma machine.

His work is said to have been key to shortening World War Two and saving millions of lives.

In addition to his work during World War Two, Turing played a pivotal role in the development of early computers, first at the National Physical Laboratory and later at the University of Manchester.

In 2013, he was given a posthumous royal pardon for his 1952 conviction for gross indecency. 

Speaking of the new note, Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, said: “Turing was a leading mathematician, developmental biologist, and a pioneer in the field of computer science. By placing him on our new polymer £50 banknote, we are celebrating his achievements, and the values he symbolises.”

Polymer Notes

This brand new £50 note is the last in the Bank of England’s collection to switch from paper to polymer, following the popularity of the polymer £20, £10 and £5 notes.

The banknote will enter circulation on 23 June, which would have been the mathematician’s birthday.

Alan Turing £50 note voted as Change Checker’s favourite polymer note!

As the brand new £50 note is the last in the Bank of England’s collection to switch from paper to polymer, we asked you to vote for your favourite polymer note.

The results are in!

The Alan Turing £50 has been revealed as Change Checkers’ favourite polymer banknote, taking over 40% of the votes!

We’re certain collectors will be eager to add this banknote to their collections when it’s released later in the year. Will you? Let us know in the comments below!


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This morning The Bank of England revealed Alan Turing as the new face of the £50 banknote, which will be released into circulation in 2021.

In their search to find an eminent British scientist to feature on the £50 note, a total of 227,299 nominations were sent to The Bank of England. 989 eligible characters were narrowed down to a shortlist of just 12 before Turing was finally selected.

Other candidates included Rosalind Franklin, Stephen Hawking, Ernest Rutherford and Mary Anning to name a few.

The Bank’s chief cashier, Sarah John said, “The strength of the shortlist is testament to the UK’s incredible scientific contribution. The breadth of individuals and achievements reflects the huge range of nominations we received for this note and I would like to thank the public for all their suggestions of scientists we could celebrate.”

£50 banknote concept. Credit: Bank of England

About Alan Turing

Alan Turing is perhaps best known for his outstanding code-breaking which was vital to the Allied victory in WWII.

However, he was also considered a pioneer in computer sciences and the development of the early computer. His work has had an enormous impact on our lives today.

The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney said, “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 [a] war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.”

Sadly, in 1952 he was prosecuted for homosexual acts and died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning. It was determined that his death was an act of suicide.

The new note

Next year the new £20 polymer note will be issued, featuring British Artist, JMW Turner.

This will be the third UK banknote to be made from polymer and will be swiftly followed by the new £50 note in 2021, thus completing the UK’s changeover to plastic banknotes.

These notes are more durable, secure and environmentally friendly than paper notes.

The future of cash

There have been debates in recent years as to whether or not Britain should become a cashless society.

The rise of card and electronic payments means that many see cash as becoming obsolete, with the 1p and 2p coins at the heart of the debate.

In addition to this, the validity of the £50 note has also been questioned, as it is rarely used in everyday payments and is widely thought of as being used by criminals.

The good news for Change Checkers is that the Treasury have confirmed that cash will be around for years to come.

And, with the introduction of the new Alan Turing £50 note in 2021, I think it’s fair to say that cash is still king.


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In their search to find a suitable candidate to feature on Britain’s new polymer £50 note, the Bank of England has received over 175,000 nominations, including the late Baroness and former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Some 800 of the names put forward are actually eligible to become the new face of the £50 note, with the Bank of England requiring the notable person to be real, deceased and have contributed in some way to UK science.

So does Margaret Thatcher fit the bill?

 

Late Baroness and former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Credit itv.com

 

Most famed as Britain’s first female Prime Minister and the UK’s longest-serving leader of the 20th century during her time as Conservative Party leader from 1979 until 1990, what many people may not know is that Margaret Thatcher’s early career was actually in the field of science, as she worked as a research chemist.

In fact, for a period of time she worked for J Lyons, creating emulsifiers for ice-cream and developing the much-loved soft scoop!

However, it was during her later political career that people started to think of Maggie as cold and frosty, as her nickname ‘The Iron Lady’ suggests. Her uncompromising political style made her one of the most controversial political figures in British history.

Considering her degree in chemistry and following her famous work with ice-cream, you can certainly agree that she has contributed to the UK field of science, but would you like to see her on the new polymer £50 note?

 

Guido Petition’s interpretation of the £50 note featuring Margaret Thatcher. Credit: order-order.com

 

The Bank of England has published a list of names nominated in the first week of the selection process, as a preliminary stage of identifying eligible names for consideration.

Initial speculation seems to favour Professor Stephen Hawking, Alan Turing, Ada Lovelace and Rosalind Franklin as suggestions for the new note, however other more unusual names also made the list, including Will Hay (comedy actor/amateur astronomer) and Roger Bannister (first runner to achieve a four-minute mile).

You have up until the 14th of December to continue nominating characters via The Bank of England’s website. We don’t yet know when the chosen notable person will be announced or when the new note will be released, other than it will be after the new £20 polymer note featuring JMW Turner which will be released in 2020.

So would you like to see Margaret Thatcher on the new polymer £50 note?  Change Checkers voted in our poll on Facebook and the results are in:

 

 

It’s clear that Maggie isn’t a favourite to feature on the new £50 note, but who from the scientific community would you like to see on the note? Let us know in the comments below.

 


If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:

– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers

Change Checker Web App Banner 2 Amends 1024x233 1 1024x233 - Who would you like to see on the new polymer £50 note?

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