When Is New Polymer £50 Note Featuring Alan Turing Coming?

Polymer Banknotes Last Longer, Are Harder To Counterfeit And Stay Cleaner. Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The New £50 Note

When Is New Polymer £50 Note Featuring Alan Turing Coming?
By Ioanna Toufexi

Over the last five years, polymer £5, £10 and £20 notes came into circulation, replacing the old paper ones. Now, a polymer £50 featuring the famous mathematician Alan Turing is set to enter circulation in 2021. Polymer banknotes last longer, are harder to counterfeit and stay cleaner. Here’s everything you need to know about the new £50 note:

When is the new £50 polymer note out?

  • The new polymer £50 note is expected to enter circulation by the end of 2021.
  • The Bank of England is yet to confirm and exact date.
  • How long have I got to spend the old paper £50 notes?

You still have plenty of time to spend the paper notes, as they will be valid until they are withdrawn from circulation. The Bank of England will announce the withdrawal date after issuing the new £50 note, and will give at least three months’ notice of this withdrawal date. After that date, you can exchange withdrawn notes with the BoE, and many banks will also accept them as deposits from customers. The Post Office may accept withdrawn notes as payment for goods and services, or as a deposit into any bank account you can access at the Post Office. Who is Alan Turing and how was he selected to be the face of the new £50 note? Mathematician, code-breaker and computer science pioneer Alan Turing was chosen to feature on the new note, through the Bank of England’s character selection process.

The Bank says the decision on who features on money is made based on the characters’ strengths and not how many nominations they get. It also says that it takes account of who was chosen in the past, to make sure a wide diversity of people and fields features on the notes. Although Turing best known for his work devising code-breaking machines during WWII, he also played a pivotal role in the development of early computers, first at the National Physical Laboratory and later at the University of Manchester.

His work on theoretical computer science, including the Turing machine, provided the theoretical underpinnings for the modern computer. He also set the foundations for work on artificial intelligence by considering the question of whether machines could think and designed the Turing test. But these contributions were not enough to spare him being prosecuted for being homosexual at the time. He eventually received an official public apology by the British government in 2009 and the Queen granted Turing a posthumous pardon in 2013

Design features of the new £50 note

If you want to delve further into the details of the new £50 note, this is what the Bank of England has revealed so far about what the design on the reverse of the note will feature:

  • A photo of Turing taken in 1951 by Elliott & Fry which is part of the Photographs Collection at the National Portrait Gallery.
  • A table and mathematical formulae from Turing’s seminal 1936 paper “On Computable Numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem” Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society. This paper is widely recognised as being foundational for computer science. It sought to establish whether there could be a definitive method by which any theorem could be assessed as provable or not using a universal machine. It introduced the concept of a Turing machine as a thought experiment of how computers could operate.
  • The Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) Pilot Machine which was developed at the National Physical Laboratory as the trial model of Turing’s pioneering ACE design. The ACE was one of the first electronic stored-program digital computers.
  • Technical drawings for the British Bombe, the machine specified by Turing and one of the primary tools used to break Enigma-enciphered messages during WWII.
  • A quote from Alan Turing, given in an interview to The Times newspaper on 11 June 1949: “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.”
  • Turing’s signature from the visitor’s book at Bletchley Park in 1947, where he worked during WWII.
  • Ticker tape depicting Alan Turing’s birth date (23 June 1912) in binary code. The concept of a machine fed by binary tape featured in the Turing’s 1936 paper.

This news was originally published at Esse Xlive