I wouldn’t have the career I love without Alan Turing; you wouldn’t have the Internet, and perhaps we wouldn’t now enjoy a comparatively free Europe. The UK chemically castrated Turing because he was gay. We drove him to commit suicide*. Gordon Brown said “sorry!” There was a (possibly poorly advised) petition to have him posthumously pardoned, and of tens of millions of Internet-and-computing-gadget enjoying Britons, only 23 thousand of us signed.
Alan Turing (had we not driven him to death) may have lived to have received a telegram from the Queen this year. It’s the Queen’s 60th Anniversary and nearly 60 years since Alan Turing died “on her watch”. Alan Turing’s treatment – the same treatment dished out to many of his contemporaries whose lives were no different to those of many decent people today – was barbaric. We owe him so much more than “sorry”.
I’d like to read next month that he was sent his anniversary message. He lives on through his contributions to us all and deserves a very happy 100th birthday.
* Jack Copeland says – quite reasonably – that the coroner’s suicide verdict is not strongly supported by evidence and that Turing’s death may have been simply an accident. That wouldn’t absolve the UK of our barbaric treatment of him.