The new £50 polymer note of Bank of England

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The new £50 note of Bank of England
The new £50 note of Bank of England

The bank of England has featured characters on the back of their banknotes since William Shakespeare appeared on the £20 note in 1970. It allows celebrating people who have shaped UK society through their thought innovation, leadership or values. They want the characters who will be featured onto their banknotes to come from different backgrounds and fields. When selecting a new character, they take into account who has featured on notes in the past. This means that their choices can reflect the diversity of UK society. Of course, banknotes need to be universally accepted. They, therefore, look for UK characters who have made an important contribution to society and culture through their innovation, leadership or values. They do not include fictional characters or people who are still living (except the monarch on the front of the note). Finally, they need to have a suitable portrait of the person which will be easy to recognize.

£50 note of Bank of England
£50 note of Bank of England
£50 note of Bank of England
£50 note of Bank of England

Who is selecting new banknote character :

In 2014, they started a new method of selecting banknote characters. First, their Banknote Character Advisory Committee selects the field they want to represent and invite specialists in that field to join the committee. Then they ask the public to nominate people from the chosen field. In 2015, they used this method for the first time. The artist JMW Turner was chosen to appear on their polymer £20 note. In 2018, they received 2,27,299 nominations from 989 different scientists during their six-week nomination period. The Bank of England released the list of nominees on November 26, which includes names of great scientists like Stephen Hawking, computing pioneers Alan Turing and Ada Lovelace, telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell , astronomer Patrick Moore, Bengali scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose, penicillin discoverer Alexander Fleming, father of modern epidemiology John Snow, naturalist and zookeeper Gerald Durrell, fossil pioneer Mary Anning, British-Jamaican businesswoman and nursing pioneer Mary Seacole and erstwhile UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Newspapers have since published articles and analysis on the list of nominees anticipating that the final selection criteria will be stricter in finalizing a face from the long list of contenders.

The final selection:

They run focus groups to help them identify which characters on the longlist would resonate strongly with people, and which might cause concern. The committee then agrees on a final shortlist, based on the focus group feedback and detailed historical research about each of the characters. The shortlist also reflects its intention to portray a diverse range of characters over time. The final decision about who will appear on the next banknote is made by the Governor. The Advisory Committee considered these nominations and on 15 July 2019, they announced that Alan Turing will feature on the new £50 note. It will be issued before the end of 2021.

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The £50 note of Bank of England:

They first issued their current £50 note on 2 November 2011. This is their largest note, measuring approximately 156mm x 85mm and their highest-valued note. Which is designed by DE LA RUE. Its main designation color is red. It features the entrepreneur Mathew Boulton and engineer James Watt. The international copyright symbol is included on the front and the back of the £50 note. You can find it to the left of the motion thread on the front of the note and under the words ‘James Watt 1736-1819′. Boulton and Watt were leading lights of the industrial revolution. Boulton was an entrepreneur, while Watt was an engineer and scientist who made revolutionary changes to the efficiency of the steam engine. In 1775, the two formed a partnership to develop and market steam engines, and the designs were taken up worldwide. The metric unit of power is named after James Watt.

 The bank of England will replace the old one with a new polymer £50 note which they expect to enter circulation by the end of 2021. The scientist Alan Turing will feature on their new note. They chose Turing using their character selection process. Alan Mathison Turing ( 23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, and theoretical biologist. Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalization of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. The new £50 polymer note will be featured not only with Turing photo but also with his birthdate in binary code, his signature, a table, and mathematical formulae. There will be 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. There will be a quote by Alan Turing, given in an interview with 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.” The new £50 note is their first £50 printed on polymer, to resist the imitation.

Source: The website of bank of England

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