Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Maybe we can't revive him (like Snow White). But we can clean up his reputation.

This one is just for my British (or a least UK resident) readers, so apologies to everyone else.

You know about Alan Turing. Everyone knows about Alan Turing. Computer pioneer, largely responsible for cracking the German "Enigma" ciphers during the Second World War. If you don't already know hos story, it's beautifully told in this play by Hugh Whitemore, with a magnificent performance by Derek Jacobi as Turing (I was lucky enough to see him do it live on stage).



As you will have seen in the play, or knew already, Turing was convicted of "gross indecency" (this was 1952 when being gay was not permitted) and required to undergo chemical castration, which caused him to grow breasts among other delightful side-effects. Thus it was that one of our greatest mathematicians (and, in his way, a war hero) was driven to commit suicide.

Nowadays Turing's legacy is rightly celebrated, and homosexual acts are no longer punishable by law. However, Alan Turing's criminal record remains. So here is an electronic petition to the British Government to have Turing granted a posthumous pardon, which would clear that stain from his reputation.

Please - if you're British, or a UK resident - sign it.

Thank you.

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