Let's Ask the British Government Apologize to Alan Turing

Illustration for article titled Let's Ask the British Government Apologize to Alan Turing

Alan Turing, a father of computer science and WWII code-breaker was prosecuted by the British government for being gay. Then chemically castrated. Sign this petition if you think this is fucked up and want them to apologize.


Turing committed suicide two years after his prosecution in 1954. He is most well known for his Nazi enigma code breaking work for the British during the second World War and his helping establish a test to measure the intelligence of a machine which is now known as a Turing Test.

We owe him so much for his work during the big war, and for what he's done for us as geeks. He was a hero in every sense of the word. So far more than 5,500 signatures have been collected on the Downing Street petition started by computer scientist John Graham-Cumming. Author Ian McEwan put his John Hancock on the petition. I'd sign up but it looks like you need a UK address. So if you'd like to see Alan Turing get his apology, maybe you can leave a comment here as well. [BBC]



Dear American Commenters: Yes, what was done to Alan Turing was horrible — and personally I think that being rejected by the government he'd done so much for was actually more hurtful than the attempt to chemically "cure" him.

We'll happily take your input on this just as soon as you're done apologizing to people you've historically wronged through prejudice. I'll helpfully kick off the list with Oppenheimer and other victims of McCarthyism, Japanese-American WWII internees, african-americans, native americans. Oh, and when you've addressed *current* prejudice against gays.

When you're done, the petition will be waiting...