Petition seeks apology for Alan Turing

Alan Turing, the genius ‘father of the computer’ and leading figure in breaking the German code in WWII, was convicted of homosexual acts by Great Britain (around 1950, I think), forced to take estrogen, and committed suicide almost certainly because of social and legal consequences of his being gay in 1940’s England.

An online petition is seeking a formal apology from the British government.

I wish I could sign it, but you have to be a British subject.

Something I’ve wondered… why did they make him take estrogen? If they were trying to un-gay him, shouldn’t they have given him testosterone?

I was surprised by this terminology, so I checked, and it says “You must be a British citizen or resident.”

(The term “British subject” is not used much any more. I used to be a British subject, but ceased to be one in U.K. law in 1982, and in Australian law in 1987.)

Yeah, I don’t get it. In an article they called it ‘chemical castration’ - I guess (stress guess) they thought they would get rid of all his sexual urges.

At least according to the play “Breaking the Code,” it made him grow breasts.

We don’t usually allow threads for petition drives, but I’m seeing this as a thread about the petition and Turing’s life in general and not an effort to get signatures.


I signed this one earlier today. He was a truly great man treated shockingly.

Oh, sorry. If you want to delink the first post, that’s fine. I just thought it was interesting.

Are we absolutely certain all those signatures are real?

Few people have accomplished more for more people or been treated more shabbily for their trouble. Turing’s work on cracking the Enigma machine may well have saved Britain.

Edit: you know what, the post I originally wrote here would serve better as its own thread. Here, I’ll just express my own admiration for Turing and his work.

I’m really interested in learning more about this - I’d never really heard of it before. Any books out there that are especially good in covering it?

Not a book, but a movie: Breaking the Code. I thought it was pretty good. His name brings up a lot of books on amazon, perhaps someone can recommend one in particular.

:slight_smile: I see what you did there. (I think.)

Jack Copeland’s Turing’s biographer and and an expert on him. I have the book “The essential Turing” which covers his life and work in detail. It’s quite technical, though. If you want to learn about his work on effective computability and hypercomputation, then I suggest that. I’ve also read “The man who knew too much”, which is a pop-science book covering his life, work and trial, which may be more suitable (but I’m not sure how much I trust it).

Hawking’s book “God invented the integers” also includes a copy of Turing’s (most famous) paper “On computable numbers, with an application to the Eintschendungsproblem”, IIRC.

That is interesting that you think you see what he did. Tell me more about that.

Perhaps he was wondering if the signatures would pass the Turing test.

What do you think about his wondering if the signatures would pass the Turing test?

Well, the question would be, were those signatures made by people or by computers? And, if by computers, how could you tell?

Now that’s QUITE enough of that!
Go to your room!