Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 3 (5 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   8 comments

Life Arts

Happy Birthday Alan Turing !

By       Message GLloyd Rowsey     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Interesting 4   Supported 3   Must Read 2  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H4 6/24/11

Author 19172
Become a Fan
  (37 fans)
- Advertisement -

Because it's Alan Turing's birthday we should all celebrate our genders.   And please, nobody worry about your chromosomes.   There are a finite number of the sex chromosome combinations, true, and the most common are XY and XX, widely called male and female (respectively).   But androgen and estrogen are added to our mothers' fetuses continuously, and they also determine our sexual orientations (genders).  

So, we're born into a world of infinitely variable gender possibilities, determined by infinitely small, not discrete, biological differences, and this despite the two choices which most human societies throughout history have seemed compelled to prefer.

But who was Alan Turing, other than a man named Alan who was born on June 23?  

Turing was one of the 20th century's greatest mathematicians, a scientist recognized as his peer by Albert Einstein, a predecessor of John Von Neumann's who did seminal early work on computers.    


He also headed up the Bletchley Park code-breaking group that cracked Enigma before the end of 1940.   Enigma was the coding machine the Germans used to send orders to their military units in the field, and throughout the whole of World War II, they never tumbled to the fact that the Allies had broken it.   Consequently, it is simply incalculable how many Allied lives Turing and his group saved during World War II.

Turing was born on June 23, 1912.  

And he killed himself on June 7, 1954 because he feared being "outed" as a homosexual. 

- Advertisement -

Alan Turing (Undated), by Wikipedia

See the excellent entry at Wikipedia about Turing.   All three of the pictures herein are courtesy of Wikipedia, and are located in the Wiki article at "Turing."  

Twenty years ago, I read a couple of books about the man, and the Wiki article tells a different story from theirs about how Turing's gender orientation came to the attention of the English authorities.   But the stories converge about the fact that the authorities gave Turing the choice of being "treated" with female hormones or going to jail and being publicly exposed.   Turing chose the treatment, and subsequently died after ingesting cyanide, in 1954.

Forty-four long years later, in 1998 a simple plaque was put up honoring Turing in Wilmslow, Cheshire, England, Turing's birthplace:

Turing's Home Plaque in Wilmslow, Cheshire (1998), by Wikipedia

Three years later, a more pointed plaque was put up honoring Turing in Sackville Park, Manchester, England's seventh-largest city:

- Advertisement -

Turing's Sackville Park Plaque in Manchester (2001), by Wikipedia

Finally, in 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown released a statement by the English government apologizing and describing Turing's treatment as "appalling":

Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him ... So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan's work I am very proud to say: we're sorry, you deserved so much better.

Next Page  1  |  2


- Advertisement -

Interesting 4   Supported 3   Must Read 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

For Brave Eyes - Eleven Images on December 8, 2008

Dorothea Rockburne – Introducing Mathematics into 20th Century Optical Art

A Pictorial Essay - Abstract Expressionism versus Geometric Expressionism

Son of the Morning Star: Custer and the Little Bighorn, by Evan S. Connell

Fine Art on 12.28.008 - Four Contemporary Surrealist Paintings

Reflecting Sadness - The Art of Richard Estes