Alan Turing Hub




UK Codebreaker Alan Turing Receives Royal Pardon

Nearly six decades after he took his own life following a conviction of "gross indecency" for being a homosexual, the famed World War II codebreaker Alan Turing has finally been granted a royal pardon by the UK government. The Guardian reports:

Alan TuringTuring was considered to be the father of modern computer science and was most famous for his work in helping to create the "bombe" that cracked messages enciphered with the German Enigma machines. He was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 after admitting a sexual relationship with a man.

He was given experimental chemical castration as a "treatment". His criminal record resulted in the loss of his security clearance and meant he was no longer able to work for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), where he had been employed following service at Bletchley Park during the war. He died of cyanide poisoning in 1954, aged 41.

Announcing the pardon, [justice secretary Chris] Grayling said: "Dr Alan Turing was an exceptional man with a brilliant mind. His brilliance was put into practice at Bletchley Park during the second world war, where he was pivotal to breaking the Enigma code, helping to end the war and save thousands of lives.

"His later life was overshadowed by his conviction for homosexual activity, a sentence we would now consider unjust and discriminatory and which has now been repealed.

"Dr Turing deserves to be remembered and recognised for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science. A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man."


Alan Turing Likely To Receive Pardon This Year

British Parliament will very likely issue a pardon to pioneering mathematician Alan Turing - almost 60 years after his death.

AlanturingThe Guardian reports:

The government signalled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to "chemical castration".

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a government whip, told peers that the government would table the third reading of the Alan Turing (statutory pardon) bill at the end of October if no amendments are made. "If nobody tables an amendment to this bill, its supporters can be assured that it will have speedy passage to the House of Commons," Ahmad said.

The announcement marks a change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde.

Ahmad told peers: "Alan Turing himself believed that homosexual activity would be made legal by a royal commission. In fact, appropriately, it was parliament which decriminalised the activity for which he was convicted. The government are very aware of the calls to pardon Turing, given his outstanding achievements, and have great sympathy with this objective … That is why the government believe it is right that parliament should be free to respond to this bill in whatever way its conscience dictates and in whatever way it so wills."

In the past, many notable have called for a posthumous pardon for Turing, including Stephen Hawking.

Watch a BBC video of the Parliamentary debate of the pardon last week, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Alan Turing Likely To Receive Pardon This Year" »


New Sculpture of Alan Turing on Display: PHOTO

Turing
(wynn abbott - instagram)

A new sculpture of Alan Turing has been put on display in Paddington, London.

During World War II, Alan Turing, who is known as the father of modern computing, devised the Turing Bombe, a codebreaking device that was used to decipher the Nazi enigma codes, up to 3,000 messages per day. He was also gay, and two years after being convicted of "gross indecency" for being homosexual and sentenced to undergo hormone therapy, he killed himself with a cyanide-laced apple.

Activists and lawmakers are still working to get an official pardon for Turing's conviction from the British government.

Pink News reports:

The two-dimensional sculpture appeared near St Mary’s, Paddington, alongside sculptures of fellow local heroes, famous nurse Mary Seacole and Paddington Bear author Michael Bond.

The sculptures are part of the Portrait Bench series by Sustrans, transport charity, which installs the sculptures, as voted for by local residents. The sculptures are made from Corten steel, the same as the Angel of the North, and will eventually rust to give a more organic look.


Stephen Hawking, Fellow Scientists Call for Pardon of Gay UK Codebreaker Alan Turing

Professor Stephen Hawking and a long list of scientists have joined the chorus of voices calling for an official pardon of Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing, in a letter to the UK's Telegraph:

TuringWe write in support of a posthumous pardon for Alan Turing, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the modern era. He lead the team of Enigma codebreakers at Bletchley Park, which most historians agree shortened the Second World War. Yet successive governments seem incapable of forgiving his conviction for the then crime of being a homosexual, which led to his suicide, aged 41.

We urge the Prime Minister formally to forgive this British hero, to whom we owe so much as a nation, and whose pioneering contribution to computer sciences remains relevant even today. To those who seek to block attempts to secure a pardon with the argument that this would set a precedent, we would answer that Turing’s achievements are sui generis. It is time his reputation was unblemished.

Lord Currie of Marylebone
Lord Grade of Yarmouth
Lord Faulkner or Worcester
Lord Rees of Ludlow
Astronomer Royal
Lord Sharkey
Lord Smith of Finsbury
Baroness Trumpington
Sir Timothy Gowers
Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University
Dr Douglas Gurr
Chairman, Science Museum Group
Professor Stephen Hawking
Sir Paul Nurse
President, the Royal Society

During World War II, Alan Turing, who is known as the father of modern computing, devised the Turing Bombe, a codebreaking device that was used to decipher the Nazi enigma codes, up to 3,000 messages per day. He was also gay, and two years after being convicted of "gross indecency" for being homosexual and sentenced to undergo hormone therapy, he killed himself with a cyanide-laced apple.


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Machine Makes Beautiful Music For Gay Computer Scientist Alan Turing: VIDEO

IamusPerformance

Who knew computers could carry a tune?

To honor the 100th birthday of computer scientist Alan Turing, the gay grandfather of modern technology, researcher Francisco Vico and musician Gustavo Díaz-Jerez, both from the University of Malaga in Spain, created a computer called Iamus that "evolves" its own music and "produces scores that real musicians can play," New Scientist reports.

A recording of Iamus' score Transits Into an Abyss, played by the London Symphony Orchestra, goes on sale next month. In the meantime, you can listen to Iamus' track, "Nasciturus," which means "unborn child," AFTER THE JUMP

Díaz-Jerez is on the harpsichord and Sviatoslav Belonogov works the viola d'amore.

Continue reading "Machine Makes Beautiful Music For Gay Computer Scientist Alan Turing: VIDEO" »


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