Honoring Alan Turing - Father of Computer Science

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019
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Alan Turing (June 23, 1912 - June 7, 1954) was once a hero in England. He helped the government crack German Codes during World War II and developed the Turning Machine, establishing the framework for today's modern computers and was generally regarded as one of the nation's brightest stars. Then, in 1952, Turing was outed, leading to a very public trial, conviction and chemically castrated for "gross indecency." He killed himself two years later.  Sixty+ years later, the British government is honoring Turing by including him in a series of twelve new "Britons of Distinction" stamps set to be released to coincide with the year of the 100 anniversary of his birth. George Broadhead, secretary of the Humanist group the Pink Triangle Trust, celebrated Turing's inclusion in a press release. "This is richly deserved," he wrote. "It is well known that Turing was gay, but perhaps not so well known that he was a staunch atheist.

 

New face of the Bank of Englands 50 note is revealed as Alan Turing 

 

Alan Turing has been revealed as the new face of the UK £50 note. The Bank of England announced on July 16, 2019 that Bletchley Park code breaker Turing would be on the new bank note, which is expected to enter circulation towards the end of 2021. “Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” Bank of England governor Mark Carney said in a statement. “As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.”

 

Alan Turing as a School Child

 

There are many other famous gay atheists past and present — Christopher Marlowe, Maynard Keynes, Stephen Fry and and Michael Cashman among them — but Turing is probably the most notable since his breaking of the Enigma Code went such a long way in saving the UK from defeat in the last war."  Though Turing's picture is not featured on the new stamp - one of his eponymous machines is, instead - the news is just the latest step in a decades-long effort to redeem Turing's image.

 

Plaque of Bertrand Russell

 

Perhaps the biggest development came in 2009, when then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an official apology for Turing's treatment.  "While Mr Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him," Brown said at the time. "Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted, as he was convicted, under homophobic laws, were treated terribly. 

 

Pardon to Alan Turing

 

A new petition is now asking that the government to offer an official posthumous pardon for Turing. One of Turing's supporters, programmer John Graham-Cumming, actually opposes this petition, because it still assumes other gay men convicted under since-scrapped laws were guilty of something wrong.  "You either pardon all the gay men convicted (including, most importantly, those that are still living with criminal convictions) or you do nothing," he contended.

 

 

Google Doodle Celebrates "The Father of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence"

with an Interactive "intelligence Test Doodle"

 

Normally, when Google creates doodles, it uses its brains to create art that everyone can grasp and feel.  For the 100th anniversary of his birth, the company has decided to offer no such creative mercies.  Instead, there are a series of 1s and 0s and arrows pointing to left and right. There are six puzzles to solve, one for each letter in the Google logo. After completing it the first time you can play again at a more difficult level. The aim is to make the numbers on the tape match the numbers in the upper right. You're basically setting up a program that the machine will run through. There is a green start button, which I am sure one is supposed to click.  The aim of this work of very high art is to spell out the word Google in binary.  Turing was an exceptionally gifted mathematician, computer scientist and code breaker, whose Turing Machine (which this doodle commemorates) was the basis for so much in computing. 

 

Father of Computer Science

 

In an act of utter disgrace, for which the British government only apologized in 2009, Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952. He was chemically castrated and died in 1954 (aged 41) after biting into an apple laced with cyanide. At the time, an inquest declared this to be suicide. However, some believe his death was an accident.  This was the man who had helped crack the German Enigma code, a great step toward bringing a successful end to World War II. In return, he was prosecuted for gross indecency and given the choice of prison or experimental chemical castration.  He chose the latter. His conviction meant he could no longer work for the British government. (He was one of around 100,000 gay men convicted at the time.)

 

Alan Turing Stone Sculpture 

 

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Said in his 2009 Apology:  While Mr. Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him.  His conviction was never overturned, this despite efforts in 2011. The British government declared that he was legally convicted at the time, and therefore wouldn't make an exception.  It did, however, make an exception for 300 World War I deserters in 2006. The reason for many of their desertions had been given as shell shock. British Member of Parliament John Leech has long tried to get the same kind of pardon for Turing.

 

alan Turing First Computer

Alan Turing First Computer

 

Alan Turing Futurism

 

Quote We can only see a short distance ahead

 

For More Information Visit:  http://sciencemuseum.org.uk/turing

 

Turing Stamps 

British Stamps Honoring Turing

 

 

Alan Turing's Sexuality: A new set of letters written by genius mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing in the '50s after his conviction for gross indecency and sentence of 'gay cure' hormone therapy offer insight into his state of mind, The UK Guardian reports.The letters were written to Nick Burbank, the executor of Turing's estate and a literary scholar. "I have had a dream indicating rather clearly that I am on the way to being hetero," he wrote in one letter, "though I don't accept it with much enthusiasm either awake or in the dreams."

 

letter_turing

 

He Also Wrote of a Forthcoming Trip to Greece on the island of Corfu:  "I expect to lie in the sun, talk French and modern Greek, and make love, though the sex and nationality... has yet to be decided: in fact it is quite possible that this item will be altogether omitted. I want a permanent relationship and I might feel inclined to reject anything which of its nature could not be permanent."

 

Gay_Man_Who_Saved_the_World

 

The New Alan Turing Letters Also Describe his Mother: "Mother has been staying here, and we seem to be getting on a good deal better. I have been subjecting her to a good deal of sexual enlightenment and she seems to have stood up to it very well. There was a rather absurd dream I had the other night in which I asked mother's opinion about going to bed with some men and she said: 'Oh very well, but don't go walking about the place naked like you did before."

 

Alan-Turing_computers

 

Turing's nephew, who is including parts of the letters in an upcoming book about his uncle, considered the father of modern computers, indicates that he was in a good deal of a turmoil, which has historically been what everyone had assumed, but now is confirmed." Turing died of cyanide poisoning in 1954. It is said that he ate an apple laced with the poison. He was pardoned of his conviction for gross indecency in 2013. Longtime activist Peter Tatchell has called for an investigation into Turing's death, suggesting he may have been murdered rather than taken his own life.

 

 

During the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to investigate a reported burglary. They instead ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of 'gross indecency', an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offense of homosexuality - little did officials know, they were actually incriminating the pioneer of modern-day computing. Famously leading a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, he was credited with cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany's World War II Enigma machine. An intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man, THE IMITATION GAME follows a genius who under nail-biting pressure helped to shorten the war and, in turn, save thousands of lives.