Today would have been Alan Turing’s 100th birthday, and it’s moving to see the tributes across the web (including Google’s Turing Doodle). Turing was a British mathematician, a genius who made a huge contribution during WWII in breaking the German’s Enigma code, and also made his mark in the field of computers where his contributions are valued to this day. Among them, the “Turning test” is the standard used to prove when artificial intelligence is created.
I’m only providing a brief summary here of Turing’s many contributions. io9 has a great round up of articles and information about this brilliant man. And if you’re wondering why this is on a blog by a writer of gay romance? From the io9 article:
Despite his myriad contributions to society, in 1952, Turing was forced to choose between imprisonment and chemical castration, when investigations into his personal life brought his homosexuality to light. He opted for the latter. Two years later he committed suicide.
Despite his brilliance and contributions to the war effort, Turing was persecuted for his homosexuality. Who knows what else he may have achieved without that persecution? Who knows what the untold victims of homophobia (and all its related -phobias), would have achieved? What joys and achievements their greater happiness and fulfillment would have brought to themselves as well as the world?
I try to do my small part to end all discrimination and prejudice in this world. I hope you will join me as you can.
P.S. I remember seeing “Breaking the Code” about Turing’s life on PBS. A quick search doesn’t turn up a DVD listing on Amazon but hopefully that will be remedied soon. Here is the IMDB listing.