From 989 nominations and a shortlist of 12 potential characters, the Bank whittled it down to just one – Alan Turing, mathematical genius and computing pioneer.
The breaking news was reported all over the world within minutes of the announcement – and Turing trended TWICE on Twitter, with mentions of the scientific genius himself topping the trending tables, and thousands also tweeting using the hashtag #Turing50.
The celebrations were particularly joyous as Turing’s work was overshadowed during his lifetime by the prosecution for homosexuality that saw him sidelined and cruelly punished.
The big reveal today @sim_manchester! #PHMRadical Alan Turing, who helped crack German Enigma and was persecuted for being gay will feature on the £50 bank note. #AlanTuring is generously sponsored by @bernarddonoghue https://t.co/Wxi2jS8UES #JoinTheRadicals #ideasworthsupporting pic.twitter.com/s6EYpvhjNw
— People’s History Museum (@PHMMcr) July 15, 2019
@sim_manchester has been inspiring me since school trips here – so what a privilege to return today to celebrate such a key figure in the intellectual history of the UK, and of Manchester. There’s a memorial to Turing on Sackville Street – near Manchester’s gay village. #LGBTQ pic.twitter.com/R2uQc0wUIT
— Dr Arthur Turrell (@arthurturrell) July 15, 2019
Many tweeters thought it was particularly fitting that the announcement was made here at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester (we thought so too!)
— Luke Georghiou (@lukegeorghiou) July 15, 2019
Oh this is wonderful, and fittingly announced @sim_manchester too. If only he was still here to see it 😢
— Kevin Clark (@kdclark1975) July 15, 2019
— Mandy LLAP🖖🐝🇬🇧 (@AmandaThelwell) July 15, 2019
If you missed the announcement and would like to watch it back, you can do so here:
We’ve published a series of blogs looking at why Turing was the right choice, by Lord Michael Grade who was involved in the campaign to pardon him, at a little-known aspect of Turing’s work in Manchester and our Science Museum Group Director of Science, Roger Highfield, takes a look at all the scientists on the shortlist.
See objects relating to Alan Turing, and find out more about all the shortlisted scientists, at the exhibition Notables: fourteen scientists who shaped our lives.