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Alan Turing, codebreaker and mathematician, to be face of Britain's new 50 pound note

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 7/15/2019 Mike Snider

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Alan Turing, a mathematician and code breaker who deciphered German World War II messages, will appear on Britain's new 50 pound note.

The Bank of England made the announcement Monday that Turing, who died in 1954, would appear on the currency and some of his work would also adorn the note.

The action continues the posthumous accolades for the scientist, who after the war was charged with gross indecency after he acknowledged having a homosexual relationship, which was illegal at the time in Britain. To avoid imprisonment, he chose chemical castration with female hormones. He died two years later from cyanide poisoning in a death ruled a suicide.

Turing received a posthumous apology from the British government in 2009, and a royal pardon in 2013.

“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, in revealing the note's concept image Monday. "As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.”

In addition to his code-breaking work – which included the development of the Enigma code, chronicled in the 2014 film "The Imitation Game" starring Benedict Cumberbatch –Turing also helped create "the theoretical underpinnings for the modern computer ... (and) set the foundations for work on artificial intelligence by considering the question of whether machines could think," the bank says.

To help crack Nazi Germany's secret codes in World War II, Turing helped create the “Turing bombe,” a forerunner of modern computers. He also developed the “Turing Test” to measure artificial intelligence.

The photo of Turing, taken in 1951, will appear on the front of the note, which is expected to enter circulation by the end of 2021. The U.K’s highest-denomination note is the last to be redesigned and switched from paper to more secure and durable polymer. The redesigned 10 pound and 20 pound notes feature author Jane Austen and artist J.M.W. Turner.

On the back of the 50 pound note, the design will include Turing's mathematics work, technical drawings, his signature, a ticker tape showing his birthday (June, 23, 1912) in binary code, and a quote of his from 1949: “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.”

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alan Turing, codebreaker and mathematician, to be face of Britain's new 50 pound note

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