Apology to Alan Turing

In the Eurostar back from London, I read a paper in Le Monde about Gordon Brown’s posthumous apology to Alan Turing for the way he was prosecuted by English courtsfor homosexuality in 1952 and eventually driven to suicide in 1954… I just find almost impossible to believe that, till 1967 in England (980 in Scotland and 1981 in France!), homosexuality was a crime, open to prosecution and, in the case of Turing, to chemical castration! This, in addition, ruined his running abilities which were close to Olympic level of those days (his best time in the marathon was 2:46:3). In conjunction with his breaking of the Enigma code machine during the war at Bletchley Park, Turing developped notions of Bayesian information theory like Banburismus and bans. To think of how much he could have contributed to computational and foundational Bayesian statistics, as well as artificial intelligence and mathematical biology, had not he  been persecuted by a predjudiced society… The Prime Minister’s apology came as the result of a petition campaign started by John Graham-Cumming.

8 Responses to “Apology to Alan Turing”

  1. […] Turing Institute. See Professor Robert’s earlier post on Turing, […]

  2. […] I discovered that this is the Alan Turing Year in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Turing‘s birth. The math department at the University of Leeds has a webpage on all the events […]

  3. […] to the war (WWII), at least from the Allied side. Again, I knew most of the facts about Alan Turing and Bletchley Park’s Enigma, however the story is well-told and, as in previous occasions, I […]

  4. […] to the war (WWII), at least from the Allied side. Again, I knew most of the facts about Alan Turing and Bletchley Park, however the story is well-told and, as in previous occasions, I cannot but be […]

  5. […] on the life and influence of this leading figure. After his work in Bletchley Park along Alan Turing during the war, already using Bayes factors introduced a few years earlier by Harold Jeffreys, I.J. […]

  6. You exaggerate his running talents a bit, I think. Alain Mimoun won the 1956 Olympic marathon in 2.25 or so, so Turing was 20 minutes off that pace.

    • Well, being personally 20 minutes off the record time…on a half-marathon, I am very admirative of Turing’s second talent!

  7. Fortunately, he had the time to invent round-the-house chess: after each turn, the players have to run around the house, and the other one has to finish his move by the time the runner comes back, and start running himself. Strategic balance of cutting short the other player’s move and not getting exhausted.
    I would now play against you, though !
    The most recent offspring: chessboxing. Less strategic, though.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s