Saturday, 12 September 2009

Gordon Brown apologises to Alan Turing

Alan Turing, a gay mathematical genius from a half-century ago, finally got an apology from the British government after a petition gathered 30,000 signatures for it.

Without Turing's work, the computer age would have looked quite different. His work on the Turing machine was a theoretical fore-runner to the modern personal computer and came up with the basic concept of software, getting him cited as one of Time's 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

More famously, he also worked as a cryptologist and cracked the code Nazis were using to communicate, bringing World War II to an earlier end. What he did was nothing short of heroism, putting his mind to work to save countless lives.  But, proving the idiocy of discrimination, he was put on trial for "gross indecency" because he admitted to having a relationship with another man. Here's how Wikipedia puts it:

In January 1952 Turing picked up the 19-year-old Arnold Murray outside a cinema in Manchester. After a lunch date, Turing invited Murray to spend the weekend with him at his house, an invitation which Murray accepted although he did not show up. The pair met again in Manchester the following Monday, when Murray agreed to accompany Turing to the latter's house. A few weeks later Murray visited Turing's house again, and apparently spent the night there.[31]

More after the jump. 

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