Monday, August 31, 2009

Alan Turing Petition

If you're reading my blog, you're probably the kind of person who knows exactly who Alan Turing was, not to mention the Turing Test (which I also mentioned in my previous post). However, you may not know that he was convicted for gross indecency (in admitting to an actively gay relationship) in 1952, which led to him being chemically castrated, his loss of security privileges, and his loss of work with GCHQ (wiki), and thence (it is thought) to his suicide in January 1954.

Why do I bring this up today? Well, enough is enough, this man deserves a better ending than this. He deserves a full apology from the UK government for their treatment (legally, morally and chemically), and I'd like to see him acknowledged as one of the greatest minds ever to come out of UK science and mathematics. Every computing professional in the country owes this man a debt of gratitude for his work in establishing the science of computing, as does, indeed, the rest of the country for his code-breaking at Bletchley. (though, obviously, he was not alone in either field by any stretch of the imagination!)

There's an electronic petition being lodged with the UK government, and here's the BBC article that brought it to my attention.

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