A Fig Leaf Or Win For Equality? Twitter Reacts To Alan Turing £50 Note

A Fig Leaf Or Win For Equality? Twitter Reacts To New Face Of £50 Note

World War II hero Alan Turing – who is believed to have taken his own life two years after being convicted of homosexuality under outdated laws – has been revealed as the new face of the £50 note. 

The Bank of England has today (July 15) announced that the code-breaker will be honoured on its new £50 note – prompting hot debate on Twitter.

“Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” said Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England.

“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.”

The new polymer £50 is expected to enter into circulation in 2021. Some on Twitter have described the move as belated justice, others a hollow honour. RightsInfo has here gathered a few of the more thought-provoking responses.

Who Was Alan Turing?

Image of Alan Turing age 16, labelled for reuse, author unknown.

Mr Turing is hailed as being a founding father of computing and is perhaps best known for his work devising code-breaking machines during WWII. He set the foundations for work on artificial intelligence by considering the question of whether machines could think.

He was convicted of gross indecency for his relationship with a man in 1952 and killed himself in 1954. He avoided prison by accepting chemical castration. His security clearance was also removed and he was barred from continuing his work with cryptography at the GCHQ.

But in 2013, he received a posthumous pardon from the Queen.

In 2016, the government introduced a law – referred to as ‘Turing’s Law‘ – which pardons all men convicted under outdated laws criminalising consensual homosexual acts.

‘Equality Wins’

‘A Hollow Honour’

‘A Note That Nowhere Accepts’

‘A Father of Modern Computing’

‘Recognised And Celebrated’

‘At least Our Generation Can Honour Him Properly’

Featured Image Credit: Bank of England.

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About the Author

Aaron Walawalkar

News and Digital Editor
Aaron is an NCTJ-accredited multimedia journalist focussing on human rights. His extensive reporting on rough sleeping in east London has been nominated for multiple awards. He has worked for regional and national newspapers and produced illustrations, infographics and videos for humanitarian organisation RedR UK. View all posts by Aaron Walawalkar.
A Fig Leaf Or Win For Equality? Twitter Reacts To New Face Of £50 Note
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