ONE MONDAY LAST July, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney strode onto the stage at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester to reveal the next face of the United Kingdom’s £50 note, one that the bank had earmarked for science.
The honor, he announced, would go to Alan Turing (1912–54)—mathematician, World War II code breaker, and father of computer science.
Turing was a visionary as well as a revolutionary, in Carney’s words, and an outstanding mathematician whose work has had a considerable impact on how we live today.
Turing’s seminal 1936 paper “On Computable Numbers” imagined the very concept of modern computing. His code-breaking machine is credited with shortening World War II. And his revolutionary postwar work helped create the world’s first commercial computers and articulated philosophical and logical foundations for artificial intelligence.
He was, Carney said, “a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.”
PHOTO: WORLD HISTORY ARCHIVE/ NEWSCOM