Posthumous apology to Alan Turing

Gordon Brown has made a posthumous apology to the late Alan Turing in response to a petition organised by John Graham–Cumming. Turing was a brilliant mathematician who was instrumental in the breaking of the German’s enigma code during the Second World War and was described by Churchill as having made the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany. As most now know the work of Bletchey Park was kept obsessionally secret even after the war and Turing received only an OBE for his services. He did, however, remain involved in intelligence work until his arrest and subsequent conviction for gross indecency in 1952. Rather than a prison sentence Turing agreed to to undergo experimental hormone therapy – he was injected with female hormones to reduce his sex drive and chemically castrated. Turing committed suicide in June 1954 having apparently eaten an apple laced with cyanide (probably the reason for Apple’s logo).

  • Thereyouarenow

    Its funny the way the world turns. The British establishment has become practised at making these types of apologies.

    And when its right and justified as I believe it is in this case then it is a very good way to go.

    I suppose it all depends on ones views on whether the apology is deserved or not.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Turing was a genius, probably the first person to be what we now somewhat ambiguously call a “computer scientist” – as well as a war hero. The way he was hounded was nothing short of a national disgrace and it is appropriate that the government has moved to address this.

    Turgon, that thing about the Apple Computer logo is an urban myth.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    I remember seeing a great BBC dramatization of Turings life. He was indeed a brilliant scientist/mathematician and unsung hero and it is true, his contribution to the war effort was immense. A tortured soul being homosexual living in a straitjacketed time. Kenneth Williams sort of stuff.

    Gas, but two of Englands greatest scientists/mathematicians Newton and Turing being associated with an apple.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Homosexuality was then against the law, Brown is presumably suggesting that the law itself was wrong – in which case he should say so.

  • GGN

    Turgon,

    What is the TUV position on gay rights?

  • The Impartial Observer

    As well as his service at Bletchley Park, Alan Turing is best famed today for devising a test for if a computer has genuine intelligence.

    Suppose you were sitting at a computer and communicating with 2 other individuals by e-mail, one a real person, the other a computer. If you were unable to distinguish between the person and the computer by their answers then the computer has genuine intelligence.

    The Turing Test is it is called, is the Holy Grail of computer scientists, obviously no computer has managed to achieve it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test

  • Big Maggie

    Gosh, I never knew about the Apple logo. Who’d a thunk it?

    What a tragedy, though. All homophobes should hang their heads in shame on learning about Turing’s lot, because that’s where such discrimination can ultimately lead.

  • just interested

    Turgon,

    What is the TUV position on gay rights? and are there any gay orange order lodges.Does anyone know if mr Mannering knew if the tuv liked it up em or not just interested.

  • willis

    Sammy

    I think he did:

    “While 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. Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted, as he was convicted, under homophobic laws, were treated terribly.”

  • willis

    Given that Apple guard their reputation fiercely, it looks like the Comrade is right. Don’t believe everything you read in the Times, certainly not since 1981.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_logo#Logos

  • Anyone know why this apology came about now?

  • perhaps

    Anyone know why this apology came about now?

    Maybe one of Lord God Peter Mandelson ruler of this most ununited kingdoms wholesome friends whispered in his rear perhaps prob not but then again.Just poking a little fun.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The Turing Test is it is called, is the Holy Grail of computer scientists, obviously no computer has managed to achieve it.

    I wouldn’t go that far. The turing test isn’t especially scientific, especially when you consider that there are certain people – some DUP politicians spring to mind – who wouldn’t be able to pass it.

    Big Maggie, the Apple Computer thing is an urban myth. Turing’s contribution is something that has only really been understood in later years.

  • Big Maggie

    Comrade Stalin,

    Now you’ve gone and disillusioned me. Mudak! Sometimes we need our illusions :^)

  • he was injected with female hormones to reduce his sex drive and chemically castrated. Turing committed suicide in June 1954 having apparently eaten an apple laced with cyanide

    And many still commit suicide after the emotional and moral castration inflicted by Christian fundamentalists.

    Anyone know why this apology came about now?

    Labour are a long way behind in the polls and there is less than year to a general election. Labour are reminding different social and economic groups who are traditionally loyal to Labour why they were traditionally loyal to Labour. It’s no different than pointing out to public sector workers that they’re likely to do worse under the Tories.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Churchill, of all people, should know that the person who made the single biggest contribution to the Allied victory was Adolf Hitler himself.

  • NCM

    What an eccentric way to do yourself in, geez.

  • Ian Brown

    probably NOT the reason for Apple’s logo.

    there fixed it for you