Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In Memoriam: Alan Turing

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketIf there's a lesson to be learned from the life of Alan Turing (and I believe there are many) it's that throughout history, nothing matters more to those in charge than the persecution of homosexuals. This is still true in the United States, where in recent years dozens of Arab language specialists have been thrown out of the military and the State Department for being gay; the momentary War on Terror, it seems, has been trumped by the ongoing War on Gays.

Turing - born on this day in 1912 - is considered the father of computer science, and was one of the team at Bletchley Park responsible for breaking the Enigma machine's codes during World War II; he was arrested for homosexuality in 1952, which led to his suicide by poisoning in 1954. Although he worried about the effect that homophobia would have on his legacy, it appears, in retrospect, to have been minimal. In fact, in recent years a memorial to him has been unveiled in Manchester's Sackville Park as well as another by sculptor Stephen Kettle at his old stomping grounds, Bletchley Park; additionally English Heritage has placed a Blue Plaque at two of his former London homes.

In the excellent 1996 BBC TV-movie Breaking the Code Turing was portrayed by Derek Jacobi.
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1 comment:

Seumas Gagne said...

Not much information about this kind of gay hero at your average twink bar, is there?