A new petition is now online seeking a pardon from the UK government for mathematician Alan Turing. In 1952, he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ with another man, under an archaic law that no longer exists. He was given so-called “organo-therapy” (chemical castration) and two years later, killed himself with cyanide-laced apple, aged just 41.
Turing invented the concept of the modern computer, devised the first real test for artificial intelligence and cracked the German codes to help bring WWII to an end.
Turing also figured out how the leopard got its spots and what makes zebras stripy. Seriously, he figured out that the diffusion of cyclical chemical patterns in the growing embryo, particularly in pigment cells would give rise to waves or rings of different pigment across the skin.
The petition can be found here.
- Britain’s Greatest Codebreaker: the tragic story of Alan Turing (telegraph.co.uk)
- Alan Turing by Alan Garner (guardian.co.uk)
- Beware the Alan Turing fetish (jgc.org)