• Ganna Pogrebna

Alan Turing the face of the new £50 note

Concept image of what the note will look like. Image: Bank of England

Today we heard that the Bank of England plans to make Alan Turing the face of a new £50 note by the end of 2021. You might think that this is not a big deal. Indeed, when was the last time you used a £50 note? Sceptics might say that the only people who will use the note would be a handful of tourists, who would not know much about Turing, apart from maybe his codebreaking legacy, recently popularized by Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”.

However, to me and people like me there are several reasons to celebrate:

  1. We celebrate a great British Scientist, a computer science pioneer, who revolutionized technology and the way we think about technology.

  2. We celebrate the power of education, which allowed Alan Turing to make a difference and change everyone’s life.

  3. We celebrate the creativity and ability to think outside the box, which allowed Turing to take responsibility for many inventions including the Turing Machine and the Turing Test.

  4. We celebrate determination, which helped Alan Turing to pursue his scientific passion despite scepticism and criticism.

  5. We celebrate the courage to be different from the rest, and fighting against society which banned diversity and inclusion.

Months ago, when I wrote my nomination to the Bank of England supporting the initiative of making Alan Turing the face of the new £50 note, I did not expect to be heard, because I thought that my nomination was just a drop in the ocean. Today I know that every time I will look at a £50 note, I will be reminded again of David Mitchel’s great phrase that any ocean is just a “multitude of drops”.


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