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We kindly ask staff to share their stories (up to 200 words)/photographs describing the festivals and events you celebrate - religious or otherwise.
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Marco Ercolani – The Alan Turing £50 banknote
On 23 June 2021 the Bank of England will enter into circulation a new £50 banknote celebrating Alan Turing. This represents another step in British society’s long journey to redeem itself in relation to Turing’s legacy. Turing was a Cambridge University mathematician and Second-World War code breaker at Bletchley Park. He was instrumental in improving the pre-war Polish Bombe computers used to decrypt messages based on Germany’s Enigma and other encryption systems.
After the war, Turing continued his work in mathematics and computing, writing seminal papers that foresaw many present-day computing issues. However, in 1952 Turing was prosecuted for homosexual acts and he accepted chemical castration treatment. In 1954 Turing committed suicide by allegedly eating an apple laced with cyanide. Later, this led to the urban myth that the bitten Apple Computers logo is a tribute to Turing.
In the early years of computing, Turing’s contributions were only recognized by a few. As late as 2009, a public petition led Prime Minister Gordon Brown to issue an apology for Turing’s treatment and another petition later led to a Royal Pardon in 2014. The same year, “The Imitation Game” was released, a film of Turing’s life. One can only wonder what more could have been achieved had Turing’s intellect continued to flourish in a more diverse society.
Holly Brain - International Women's Day
International Women’s Day is such a positive day where I see many of my female colleagues and friends sharing inspirational stories, thanks and gratitude to their fellow women. On International Women’s Day this year, I got to work with my colleagues in the Centre for Responsible Business, Sophie Sinclair and Chloe Carpenter, on recording panel discussions for our upcoming conference. This was a big day for us in our conference planning and we took a moment to appreciate how supportive, productive and enjoyable it has been to work together on this as a team.
I am so grateful for all I have learned through working with these two talented and inspiring women and this is a great day to take stock - but celebrating, appreciating and supporting women is something I’m going to try to do actively every day!
Yao Yao - Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, is China's most important festival. The celebration activities trace back in ancient times, when there was a monster named Nián (年, Chinese character for New Year). It lived at the bottom of the sea and came up in New Year Eve to feast on animals and humans. People decorated the house with the red paper and set off firecrackers to scare the monster, Nián, away, and it had become a tradition at New Year time.
February 12th, 2021 marks the start of the Year of the Ox. The Ox that is held in high regard in Chinese culture ranks second in the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. Oxen often represent the hard workers in the background, who are intelligent, loyal and reliable, but seldom demand praise. The virtues associated with ox are the fundemantal merits Chinese people aspire to value. After a year of anxiety, uncertainties and tragedies in 2020, may the Year of the Ox bring us plenty of hope and positivity.