Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing will be the face of the new £50 note, the Bank of England announced on Monday.
The renowned mathematician, considered to be the father of the modern computer and credited by Winston Churchill for making “the single biggest contribution to the allied victory” in the Second World War, will adorn the latest version of the UK’s highest-denomination banknote which is expected to enter circulation in 2021.
In 1952, Turing was infamously accused of -- and convicted for -- "gross indecency" for homosexual acts. He was given a choice between prison or chemical castration and chose the latter. Two years later, at age 41, he committed suicide with cyanide.
Despite repeated petitions, the U.K. for a long while refused to pardon Turing...
A posthumous pardon was not considered appropriate as Alan Turing was properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offence. He would have known that his offence was against the law and that he would be prosecuted. It is tragic that Alan Turing was convicted of an offence that now seems both cruel and absurd—particularly poignant given his outstanding contribution to the war effort. However, the law at the time required a prosecution and, as such, long-standing policy has been to accept that such convictions took place and, rather than trying to alter the historical context and to put right what cannot be put right, ensure instead that we never again return to those times.
...though they eventually relented and Turing was officially pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II on 24 December 2013.