Mathematician Alan Turning’s greatest achievements weren’t recognized until after his death
Alan Turning is considered the father of theoretical computing and artificial intelligence. The work of the English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist was not fully realized until years after his tragic death.
During World War II he was involved in cracking the code and was responsible for many important breakthroughs that shortened the conflict. He continued to work on some of the earliest computers, and his theories are credited with major developments in the field.
In 1952, Turning was prosecuted for gross indecency when it was discovered he was gay. He agreed to be chemically castrated rather than sent to jail. Two years later, he committed suicide.
In 2009, following an online campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a public apology for the way Turning was treated.
âThousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition for the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was treated under the law of the day and we can’t turn the clock back, his treatment was of course completely unfair and I’m happy to have the chance to say how badly I and we’re sorry for what happened to himâ¦ So on behalf of the UK government, and all of you who live freely thanks to Alan’s work, I’m very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved so much better. said the British Prime Minister.
In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon. In 2017, the UK government apologized to everyone who had been prosecuted under previous laws and offered a way to have their convictions withdrawn – the legislation is called Alan Turning’s Law.
Turning will be featured on the new fifty British pound note, and he has been honored with statues, awards and performances in film and television.
Also on this gay day
Film producer James ivory celebrates his birthday, he was born in 1928. Ivory has had a long professional and personal relationship with Ishmael Merchant, their production company has created many memorable films including A room with a view, Mauritius, Howards End and The remains of the day. Merchant died in 2005. One of James Ivory’s most recent hits was Call me by your name, he wrote the screenplay and served as a producer on the film.
Author EM Forster died that day in 1970, several of his works would later be screened by Merchant Ivory.
Edward Morgan Foster was born January 1, 1879. He went on to write many successful novels which often explored themes of class difference and hypocrisy.
His best-known works include A room with a view (1908), End Howards (1910) and A passage in India (1924). He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 16 separate years.
During his lifetime, Forster spoke openly about his homosexuality to his close friends, but kept it a secret from the public. In 1913 he completed the first draft of his novel Mauritius which was a love story between people of the same sex. He revised the novel several times during his life and left strict instructions that it could not be published until after his death. Forster died in 1970 and at the age of 91, and the book was published posthumously the following year.
Author Henri miller died that day in 1980. He is best known for his books Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and The Trilogy Sex, Nexus and Plexus. Miller has married several times and had a well-documented affair with erotic writer Anais Nin. His books were often banned in his homeland – the United States, and he is credited with creating the genre of semi-autobiographical novels. Researchers have argued that repressed homosexuality was a theme in some of this work. The author has married five times.
On that day in 2012, the Danish parliament voted in favor of marriage equality. Denmark became the 11th country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry, whereas registered partnerships were previously available.
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