tomtac: "little green feline" (little green man feline)
Royal pardon for codebreaker Alan Turing
Alan Turing at 16

There has been, for a long time, a drive to get justice for Alan Turing, even though he died in the early 1950s. Someone who did so much for the world, and the Allies and for the UK, in World War Two.

The British Prime Minister did talk about an apology a while back.

Now the news is that Her Royal Highness just went ahead and gave him a full pardon.
Queen Elizabeth in 2007   BBC - Royal pardon for codebreaker Alan Turing

To those of us who are perhaps a little down this month, having lost Nelson Mandela and having had some other deaths, this is a bit of news that could perhaps cheer one up.

A good "break" for the greatest "code breaker" of them all.




Oh, still reading, I see. Perhaps you'd like a little more?

I nosed over to the British Monarchy's website to see if I could get more about the Queen's action. Nothing official there, yet.

cryptography machine at Bletchley Park

But I also found this: THE QUEEN'S CODE BOOK CHALLENGE: "To mark Her Majesty’s visit to Bletchley Park in July 2011, The Queen issued a Code Book Challenge to schoolchildren."

"Bletchley Park" is the place where Turing and others broke the German and Japanese codes (and the Russian ones, and the Italian ones) during World War Two.  It sounds like the Queen got interested in cryptography.

To take part in the puzzle, one can download a 1.6MB code book.  "The codebook is a simplified version of an original codebook which would have been produced by the British Government Code & Cypher School, for British agents operating behind enemy lines during the Second World War. It would have been printed onto silk so that it could be sewn into the lining of a jacket to avoid detection."

Sounds like they'd like a new generation of little Alan Turings (and James Bonds) to come along.
tomtac: (Default)
Turing is often considered to be the father of modern computer science. He invented the "Turing machine", and developed a test for the existence of intelligence, now called a "Turing Test".

During World War 2, he developed the methods that broke the German code so the Allies could intercept enemy communications.

Unfortunately for him, he was also gay, and when this was discovered, it ended his career as a trusted government asset. He was given strong estrogen shots, as a kind of "chemical castration". He died two years later, having eaten an apple that he had laced with cyanide.

Hoping to get an apology for persecuting him, and perhaps a posthumous knighthood.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/09/01/alan.turing.petition/index.html

Here is the British petition.

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/turing/?showall=1

Here is the International petition.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/worldturingpetition/index.html

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