Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Letter to Her Majesty The Queen

Her Majesty The Queen
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA

August 25, 2009


I write to ask Your Majesty to consider awarding a posthumous knighthood to the British mathematician, code-breaker and computer scientist Alan Turing.

Alan Turing was born in 1912 in London and in 1935 became a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. One year later he published a mathematical paper that is the foundation of all of computer science. In the paper he proposed a machine, which we now call a Turing Machine, that is the basis for all computers; the machine on which I write this letter to Your Majesty follows Turing’s rules.

Alan Turing went on to work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War and was instrumental in helping break Nazi German codes including the Enigma and is credited with shortening the war by a number of years. After the war Turing worked in Manchester on the birth of computers as we know them.

The United States-based Association of Computing Machinery has been giving an award in Turing’s name since 1966, and he was awarded the OBE in 1945 for his secret war time work.

But Alan Turing’s life ended in tragedy when after being prosecuted for ‘gross indecency’ (Alan Turing was a homosexual) he was forced to have estrogen injections and committed suicide. On that day in 1954, at age 41, Great Britain lost one of its greatest minds.

Since then Great Britain has done little to honour him. A section of road in Manchester is named after him, and a blue plaque is fixed to the wall of his former home.

I write today to Your Majesty to ask that Alan Turing be honoured with a posthumous knighthood that recognizes what a great man he was; there is no doubt in my mind that if Turing had lived past age 41 his international impact would have been great and that he likely would have received a knighthood while alive.

I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty’s humble and obedient subject,

Dr John Graham-Cumming, MA (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon)

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Blogger migratingfishswim said...

Good for Manchester!

2:44 PM  
Blogger pixelbath said...

This campaign is really growing legs. Several British news organizations have now picked up the story, prompting a post on Slashdot, if you haven't already heard.

3:50 PM  
Blogger alex said...

Brittain has a great tradition of openness and liberty. The death of Alan Turing is truly a perverse stain in her history.

I as a citizen of the world add my opinion in favor of Mr Graham-Cumming's position.

Not only Brittain, but the world, owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. Turing.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Andres said...

I'm with your iniciative!!!

12:04 AM  
Blogger bob_ross38 said...

I am just now finding out about this work and the apology of Gordon Brown to Alan Turing. Another movement I would like seen is to re-release the movie which starred Sir Dereck Jacoby who played Turing and an official apology by the British government and Her Majesty, The Queen. Not a subject of Britain but nonetheless would like to see Alan get a knighthood. If we can give nighthood for giving away money, why not one for saving the world from possible Nazi control.

9:18 PM  
Blogger sinbadia said...

Does this make computers gay?

1:24 AM  

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