1. NaughtyLola says

    Is this officially Nerdgasm Day? My favorite author, Neal Stephenson, uses Alan Turing as a character in “Cryptonomicon”. The subject of his homosexuality is addressed head-on in a very affectionate and entertaining way, puzzled out in a very logical fashion the way only a person with possibly mild Asepergers (or just deeply nerdy — not everyone has to have a pathology!) can do.

    What a treasure, and what a horrible, shameful end.

  2. niles says

    Interesting to think what ideas he would have pursued if he had not died so young. One wonders how many countless other geniuses have been persecuted and destroyed by ignorance and bigotry over the years.

  3. Xavi says

    What an amazing, brilliant gay man! I wish I had known about Turing and other gay heroes when I was a kid as I would have perhaps had the strength to come out earlier. I know I would have identified very strongly with Turing and his groundbreaking work.

    Students need to know the accomplishments of the LGBT community, including Turing, Milk, Jean King and so, so many others.

    Turing’s work saved the lives of millions during the war and his ideas paved the way for the development of the modern information technology world we all know today.

    He is a hero and a pioneer and he should be remembered as a proud gay man hounded by an unfortunately biased society that today thankfully regrets its historical ignorance.

  4. Reader says

    “a kind of digital mockup of what appears to be a primitive bombe” — do people really not know what a turing machine is?

  5. NaughtyLola says

    @Reader, of course not. Why would they, unless they specifically study Computer Science? It’s not a phrase that’s in common parlance, despite your pretentions to the contrary.

  6. anon says

    There were several math geniuses that worked on decrypting German (and all Axis) communications during the war, not just Turing. He was instrumental in automating the process of decryption, though.

    The British Govt. continues to duck behind the issue of his conviction because they don’t want to embarrass the royal family by asking for a pardon. I guess the issue will come to a head again after the queen and her husband dies.

  7. Dave says

    This proves the inhumanity to man that went on and still goes on today in some part of the world just because a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman. This gay geek possibly saved the world and for it he was tortured by his own people. In the West they were driven by their Christian religion to destroy this gay man to the point he killed himself. We need to hold these anti-gay Christians responsible for crimes against LGBT people in the West. They are hate groups who justify their barbarism using their religion. Now they are afraid that the under dog will rise up and do the same to them, that is why they are afraid. The anti-gay Christians are afraid that they will be exposed for the criminals they are for destroying the lives of countless LGBT people for a very long time and that they will be brought to justice for causing the death and destruction of these countless LGBT people. No wonder they are running scared. It has been proven that most criminals always run scared before they are caught and brought to justice.

  8. Brandon K. Thorp says


    Of course I do. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have written a 700-word memorial of Alan Turing. That said, I have no idea what one looks like up close — and since the Google-doodle’s job seems to be to either prove or disprove theorems, I thought it likely that this was a mock-up specifically of a Turing bombe. Was I wrong?

    – BKT

  9. ratbastard says

    What they did to this man, especially after what he did to save his country from the Nazis, is unforgivable. I’m sure some power brokers could have saved him from the worse aspects of the punishment meted out, but they were by and large pieces of sh*t too.

  10. StevieLee says

    Even though the British Government via then Prime minister Gordon brown belated “apologized” for it’s atrocious actions against this extraordinary human being merely because of his sexuality – it still refused to pardon (rescind) the horribly wrongful charges brought against him in 1952. Statement issued recently by justice minister Lord McNall:

    “The question of granting a posthumous pardon to Mr Turing was considered by the previous Government in 2009.

    As a result of the previous campaign, the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an unequivocal posthumous apology to Mr Turing on behalf of the Government, describing his treatment as “horrifying” and “utterly unfair”. Mr Brown said the country owed him a huge debt. This apology was also shown at the end of the Channel 4 documentary celebrating Mr Turing’s life and achievements which was broadcast on 21 November 2011.

    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 which 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.”

    However, it seems that the British Government had little qualms or any such reservation on granted posthumous “pardons” for some WWI deserters – claiming that they were suffering from “Shell Shock” and should therefore be honored for their service with a full and retroactive absolution by the very government who still refuses to grant Alan Turing him the same consideration of final and rightful JUSTICE.

  11. Randy says

    Reader is correct. It should be obvious to anyone reporting on Turing that the doodle employs the machine that bears his name.

    Sometimes I miss the old media. Before Fox.

  12. stranded says

    I’m so glad to see Turing finally getting some recognition. Twenty years ago I wrote a musical performance for him and nobody I spoke to, gay or otherwise, had ever heard of him. It’s a story destined for filmdom and mythology but it’s important to remember him as a real man of great principles who lived a life of bravery among a sick and grotesque society that still permeates lives today. If there was a gay idol to admire for his intellect and integrity it’s Alan Turing.

  13. Henry Holland says

    “Twenty years ago I wrote a musical performance for him”

    I have a 3/4 finished opera libretto about Turing buried in a box somewhere in my parent’s garage. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one thinking along those lines.

    Derek Jacobi played Turing in the excellent BBC TV movie “Breaking the Code”, though he physically doesn’t look much like Turing. Hugh Whitemore’s play that the movie was based on gets a production now and then.

  14. Andrew says

    @BKT The Turing Bombe was a complex machine created for the purpose of decrypting Enigma-encrypted messages. It was essentially a parallel processor that allowed the cryptographers at Bletchley Park to “reverse engineer” the several settings of the Enigma machine that were changed regularly.

    A Turing Machine is a generalized computer, with a very limited instruction set and memory that consists of an infinite tape upon which symbols can be written. The fascinating thing about TMs is that as simple as they are, they have been proven to be as powerful (if not as efficient) as any possible computer. In other words, given a long enough instruction set–and you’re allowed as many as you want–a Turing Machine could emulate an iMac.

    Today’s Google doodle is an implementation of a very small Turing Machine. Note that if you solve either set of puzzles, you can click on a little rabbit to see the doodler’s implementation of an algorithm that iteratively generates the Fibonacci sequence. Very cool. For computer/math nerds.

  15. Contrarian says

    Oh I see “Dave”‘ the sock-puppet gay is here to attack the world’s Christians, even those marching behind their liberal Protestant church banners (and in some instances, helping to pay the cost) in Pride parades. “Dave”, your blind eye for the institutional misogyny and homophobia of Islam, tells us your real identity and agenda. How is the jihad going?

  16. Scar2 says

    A movie about him is in development with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star. Hopefully it’ll get a green-light soon.

  17. Joel says

    The posts today about a BBC report that Turing did not commit suicide.

    “Meanwhile, at a conference today in Oxford, England, professor Jack Copeland, an expert on Alan Turing, told surprised visitors that Turing’s 1954 death was not a suicide, as has widely been assumed. According to a fascinating account in BBC News, Copeland questioned the evidence that was presented at the 1954 inquest into Turing’s death, calling it insufficient to rule the death a suicide. 

    Turing died of cyanide poisoning and a half eaten apple was found near his bed. Legend goes that Turing was fascinated with the fairy tale of Snow White and poisoned himself with an apple to end the persecution he was getting for being gay. But Copeland argues that Turing ate an apple every night before bed (something others knew as well), the apple was never tested for cyanide, and there were no indications anywhere that Turing was anything less than upbeat and forward thinking. He even wrote a to-do list for the next week.”

  18. says

    Thanks, Joel, for posting this. Copeland makes a very strong argument for accidental poisoning (through inhalation and not ingestion), details of which can be found by going to the BBC Home News page.

  19. NickG says

    So the post about bird-flipping gay activists gets 80 comments,while the centennial celebration of an important gay hero gets barely half of them?

    tsk, tsk.. makes me wonder why the gays don’t get more rights sooner these days.