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Manchester to celebrate centenary of gay computer scientist Alan Turing

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  1. what a incredible bloke – so badly treated by this country

  2. Nice video clip about him

  3. Are you sure about his birth being in Manchester? Wikipedia would beg to differ.

    1. He was born in a nursing home in Paddington, London on 23 June 1912. according to http://www.turing.org.uk/turing/scrapbook/early.html

    2. Although he was born in London, I’m proud to say he’s closely associated with Manchester. He lived here for a few years and was Reader in the mathematics department at the University, and — less admirably — Manchester was where he was charged with gross indecency, and chemically castrated, which subsequently led to his suicide.

      It’s hard to imagine a country so harshly treating someone who contributed so much to the war effort, soley because of what he did in bed.

  4. Steve@GayWebHosting 24 Feb 2011, 6:06pm

    Yes it was incredibly bad what happened to this British hero.

    I remember a few years ago visiting Sackville Park in Manchester and seeing the bench with his statue sitting on it.. Beside this is his story.. I did not know about him before this and I cried when I read it.

    Long overdue..

    1. You underestimate his importance – he is a hero to gays around the world. Without his contributions to the war effort and to the world of computing, the world today could indeed be a very different place. The shameful treatment by his own government and his death as such an early age are reminders that so many in the LGBT community worldwide continue to suffer discrimination and physical violence.

  5. “Turing received a posthumous apology from prime minister Gordon Brown in 2009.”

    . . . . . . . . . .

    The fact that we had to wait for the 21st century before the government offered this apology is something; but the delay was a massive insult. The token gesture was not consummate with Turings contribution to this country.

    Good to hear that Manchester will be offering this celebratory centenary, to this amazing Scientist!!!

  6. George Broadhead 24 Feb 2011, 6:42pm

    Turing’s hopes and ambitions at Sherbourne public school were raised by the close friendship he developed with a slightly older fellow pupil, Christopher Morcom, who was his first love. Morcom died suddenly from complications of bovine tuberculosis. Turing’s religious faith was shattered and he became an atheist.

  7. From memory, he was only persecuted by the authorities after we won the war with his help. They turned a blind eye while he was working on codebreaking.

    We may not even have won the war without his efforts.

    One of the most shameful acts of this country in the 20th century.

  8. Terrible what happened to him and great that he was closely associated with Manchester, having chosen to work at the University. However he wasn’t born here.

  9. Jock S. Trap 25 Feb 2011, 7:40am

    Indeed an incredible man and one that never should be forgotten. Not only because of the work he did with the code breaking but also to show humanity in This country at it’s worst.

    To be put through such barbaric acts just because just for being Gay must be taught to the younger generation to show the struggles people went through before 1967.

    A worthwhile centenary to be celebrating.

  10. “We may not even have won the war without his efforts.”

    Actually, in all probability, we wouldn’t be using the computers as we have now to type these very messages without him, his work revolutionised the idea around stored programmable computing, and his ideas set in motion the entire computer industry. One can only imagine what he could have achieved if he wasn’t so tragically persecuted for something as simple as who he chose to sleep with.

  11. Turing was a mathematician – computer science did not exist in his day so it is anachronistic to use the term. He wrote many good papers on Pure Mathematics as well as his famous work leading to the basis of computer science. His treatment was appalling, but typical of the day.

    1. I’m afraid Will (below) is right Peter. You are implying separation of mathematics and computing were none exists. It is generally understood in the Computer Science field that Turin’s work established the modern computer age.

  12. “Turing was a mathematician – computer science did not exist in his day so it is anachronistic to use the term”

    I’m sorry, Peter, but you have your facts wrong. Computational science, and computing, is based on mathematics – what did you think it was based on exactly?

    Yes, he was a mathematician, but so are most computer scientists today, and Turing proved that computation devices would be capable of performing any conceivable mathematical computation if it were representable as an algorithm. Algorithms are at the very core of modern computational programming. He also envisaged what’s is now called “the Turing machine”, which at the time was a theoretical device that could manipulate symbols on a strip of tape according to a table of rules. A Turing machine can be adapted to simulate the logic of any computer algorithm, including the functions of a CPU inside a computer.

    To suggest that “computer science did not exist in his day so it is anachronistic to use the term” is rather silly, as its like suggesting the Wright brothers didn’t build the first successful aeroplane, because modern avionics didn’t exist then. There is a reason Turing is sometimes called the “father of modern computers”, quite simply its becuase he postulated their existence.

    I’d suggest you make a better effort to understand the relationship between computer science and mathematics.

    1. I understand it well. I teach Mathematics at a top university. Our computer science students do a minimal amount of Mathematics. It is true that some computer scientists are good mathematicians – and perhaps some mathematicians are good computer scientists, but the two disciplines are not the same. Turing write papers on Fourier series, analysis and in many other branches of pure mathematics. He also worked on the famous Riemann hypothesis – none of which has anything to do with computer science. He belonged to a Mathematics faculty and so I would describe him as a mathematician. There have been so few famous gay mathematicians that I was simply making the point that Turing was one of them.

      1. I’m sure you’re teaching of mathematics at a top university makes you the ultimate authority, but alas the rest of the scientific community doesn’t agree either.

        As a scientist myself, I am fully aware of the level of mathematics needed for computer science, and the level needed is anything but “minimal”. In fact, your statement makes me believe you are anything BUT a lecturer, sorry. You imply disparity in mathematics with computer science where none exists, and a true mathematician or scientist would know this. Do you seriously think Fourier Analysis is nothing to do with computing/engineering? Just one example that proves you wrong: Analysis and decomposition of spatial variation in integrated circuit processes and devices uses spatial Fourier transform methods.

        It is a bit needy of you to need to claim Turing as a mathematician, simply because “so few famous gay mathematicians” exists. Give the man the credit he deserves for both fields of mathematics and computational science!

        1. Will is right. I would say that in 1945 Alan Turing alone grasped everything that was to change computing completely after that date. Above all he understood the universality inherent in the stored-program computer. He knew there could be just one machine for all tasks. He did not do so as an isolated dreamer, but as someone who knew about the practicability of large-scale electronics, and from his experience in codebreaking and mathematics he was also vividly aware of the scope of programs that could be run. The idea of the universal machine was foreign to the world of 1945

          To call Turin just a Mathematician, is unfair, and disingenuous to the vast contribution he made to computing, so I agree with Will. To say that he has nothing to add just because there was no “Computing Facility” in 1945, is like saying Darwin didn’t postulate evolution, simply because he was in the Medical Faculty. Its not about “owning” Turing as a Mathematician, its about recognising his vast contribution.

        2. Excuse me- I have been teaching pure mathematics for 21 years and my research area is Number Theory – branch of mathematics often used in Computer Science. By your comments you seem to be confusing computer science with computer engineering and software engineering. Students from the latter two disciplines do do a lot of heavy mathematics at our university. Computer science students at our university do not.
          The Google entry (not always to be trusted I accept) describes Turing as `an English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and computer scientist’ in that order. The encyclopedia britannica says has was a ` British mathematician and logician, who made major contributions to mathematics, cryptanalysis, logic, philosophy, and biology and to the new areas later named computer science, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and artificial life.’
          To refer to him, as the article does, and never call him a mathematician is simply incorrect.

          1. NERD FIGHT! :-)

          2. Sheesh. The fact you deny Alan Turing’s work in the what he offered to Computing because of some silly “I’m the only gay mathematician” nonsense is puerile. And no one here is interested in your lecturing position, the internet is full of so-called experts who haven’t a clue either what their going on about.

            Every other scientist and engineer respect what Turing did for computing. You don’t. Big deal.

          3. “By your comments you seem to be confusing computer science with computer engineering and software engineering”

            I am doing nothing of the sort, I am merely referring to “Computer Science” as a whole, including all disciplines under that umbrella. You are making silly separations that do not exist in the real world of computer science (look under IEEE definitions of Computer Science”), as most software engineers are familiar with engineering principles and vice versa. You are being pedantic and insular for no reason here, and as such I have little faith that you know what you are talking about. No matter, its of no relevance really. Turing will be continued to be hailed as one of the fathers of modern computing, and by the rest of the scientific and engineering community, regardless of your hair-splitting or belief in the contrary.

  13. He cracked the enigma code, he basically saved the world. He deserves a posthumous knighthood for his services to this country and western world.

  14. Shame,shame.This gay man of
    such a bright giving mind,should
    have been treated with honor,
    not condemed.
    As I hear people sing “America
    The Beautiful,” I think, so sad, that few know source of this beautiful song, they sing so loudly and proudly.
    Wise up world. We have a history rich in honorables.8

  15. Fantastic man, didn’t deserve to get treated like he did for the way he felt
    R.I.P

  16. Sheesh. The fact you deny Alan Turing’s work in the what he offered to Computing because of some silly “I’m the only gay mathematician” nonsense is puerile. And no one here is interested in your lecturing position, the internet is full of so-called experts who haven’t a clue either what their going on about too.

    Every other scientist and engineer respect what Turing did for computing. You don’t. Big deal.

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