Pat Pilcher: Pardon comes 60 years too late

Alan Turing.
Alan Turing.

It may have taken 60 years but the father of digital computing, Alan Turing has finally been pardoned after being convicted of homosexuality in 1952.

Aside from pioneering the digital computer, Turing's genius at computing and advanced mathematics also saw him helping the allies decrypt German and Japanese communications. Because of this he is also said to have played a critical role in the allies eventual winning of the Second World War.

Unfortunately Turing was victim of less enlightened times and was chemically castrated after being convicted for homosexuality in 1952, losing his security clearances in the process. The process proved too much for Turing who tragically committed suicide using cyanide aged 41.

Yesterday it was officially announced that Turing has been pardoned by the Queen under what is known as the Royal Prerogative of Mercy. Appallingly the pardon comes some 60 years after Turing's massive contributions to computing and assistance in breaking Axis encryption, thanks to the insistence of the UK government that Turing remain convicted of what was a criminal offence in 1952.

The pardon follows a long running campaign by notable scientists, including the prominent physicist, Stephen Hawking, and a petition with over 37,000 signatures.

- NZ Herald

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