Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Alan Turing granted posthumous royal pardon

Liberal peer and mathematician Lord Sharkey has succeeded in gaining a posthumous pardon for Alan Turing.


Alan Turing image by Harjit Mehroke


The text of the Royal Pardon can be read here
http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/997305/turing.pdf



Turing centenary committee (TCAC) Chair, Professor S.B Cooper speaking about Turing's contribution on BBC Radio 4 Today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01nxh88


National and International News items:

BBC



"Computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing has been given a posthumous royal pardon.
It addresses his 1952 conviction for homosexuality for which he was punished by being chemically castrated.
The conviction meant he lost his security clearance and had to stop the code-cracking work that had proved vital to the Allies in World War Two.
The pardon was granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy after a request by Justice Minister Chris Grayling."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25495315 

Independent:



Alan Turing gets royal pardon for 'gross indecency' – 61 years after he poisoned himself.
He was the father of modern computing whose work on the Enigma code at Bletchley Park  is said to have shortened the Second World War.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/alan-turing-gets-royal-pardon-for-gross-indecency--61-years-after-he-poisoned-himself-9023116.html


Guardian:



Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing receives royal pardon.
Mathematician lost his job and was given experimental 'chemical castration' after being convicted for homosexual activity in 1952 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/24/enigma-codebreaker-alan-turing-royal-pardon


Telegraph:


Alan Turing, the wartime codebreaker, has been granted a posthumous pardon by the Queen for his criminal conviction for homosexuality. 
Dr Turing, who helped Britain to win World War II, killed himself after receiving the conviction in 1952.He has now been granted a pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy after a high-profile campaign supported by tens of thousands of people including Professor Stephen Hawking. 



FT:


Six decades after his chemical castration and later suicide, Alan Turing, the father of modern computer science and breaker of the Nazis’ Enigma code, is being pardoned on Tuesday for his conviction for homosexuality.Turing – whose code-breaking work is said to have shortened the second world war by two years – has been granted a posthumous pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy by the Queen, following a U-turn by the UK government.
Hailed as a genius in his own time by colleagues at Bletchley Park, the UK’s wartime code-breaking centre, he was later prosecuted for “homosexual activities” after he reported a burglary at his home in Manchester.
After police discovered that he was gay, they arrested him under Victorian-era laws against homosexuality. An estimated 49,000 gay men, now dead, were criminalised under the now-defunct Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885.
Everyone who taps at a keyboard, opening a spreadsheet or a word-processing program, is working on an incarnation of a Turing machine,” Time Magazine wrote in 1999, after naming Turing one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.





DAILY MAIL:


......wartime codebreaker Alan Turing ... was convicted in the 1950s for homosexual activity.The pardon is only the fourth since the Second World War to be granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.It was requested by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who described Turing as a national hero who fell foul of the law because of his sexuality.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2528697/Queen-pardons-wartime-codebreaking-hero-Alan-Turing.html#ixzz2oPpQW85f



USA TODAY:

U.K. finally pardons computer pioneer Alan Turing.
His code breaking prowess helped the Allies outfox the Nazis, his theories laid the foundation for the computer age, and his work on artificial intelligence still informs the debate over whether machines can think.
But Alan Turing was gay, and 1950s Britain punished the mathematician's sexuality with a criminal conviction, intrusive surveillance and hormone treatment meant to extinguish his sex drive. Now, nearly half a century after the war hero's suicide, Queen Elizabeth II has finally granted Turing a pardon. "Turing was an exceptional man with a brilliant mind," Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said in a prepared statement released Tuesday.
Describing Turing's treatment as unjust, Grayling said the code breaker "deserves to be remembered and recognized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science." The pardon has been a long time coming.





Wall Street Journal:

Pioneering Code-Breaker was Convicted of Homosexualitylan Turing, a pioneering code-breaker whose work helped the Allies win World War II and laid the foundations for modern computing, was Tuesday granted a royal pardon by Queen Elizabeth II for a 1952 conviction for homosexuality, 59 years after his death.Mr. Turing's pardon caps a long campaign by scientists, lawmakers and members of the public to overturn a conviction for which the mathematician was sentenced to chemical castration and barred from security work less than a decade after he helped crack Nazi...

New York Times:


Alan Turing, Enigma Code-Breaker and Computer Pioneer, Wins Royal Pardon.Nearly 60 years after his death, Alan Turing, the British mathematician regarded as one of the central figures in the development of the computer, received a formal pardon from Queen Elizabeth II on Monday for his conviction in 1952 on charges of homosexuality, at the time a criminal offense in Britain.
The pardon was announced by the British justice secretary, Chris Grayling, who had made the request to the queen. Mr. Grayling said in a statement that Mr. Turing, whose most remarkable achievement was helping to develop the machines and algorithms that unscrambled the supposedly impenetrable Enigma code used by the Germans in World War II, “deserves to be remembered and recognized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science.”



The 'neural code breaker' (THE) Turing's scientific reach is far and wide including the idea of a universal machine, the eponymous Turing test, chess-playing computers, the mathematics of nature (morphogenesis) and more.

Next year, 2014 is the 60th anniversary of Alan Turing's untimely death -  watch out for an exciting event in London organised by cyberneticist Professor Kevin Warwick as well as release of The Imitation Game  movie, and lots of publications, including a special issue about   'Turing on Emotions' in the International Journal of Synthetic Emotions, Volume 5 - and don't forget you can purchase a DVD of Patrick Sammon's 2011 Turing dramadocumentary Codebreaker with Ed Stoppard playing Turing, from here: Amazon.co.uk. 

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