Archive for banburism

Apology to Alan Turing

Posted in Running, Statistics with tags , , , on October 17, 2009 by xi'an

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.