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Alan Turing Named Person of 20th Century

Written by on February 6, 2019

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Alan Turing Named Person of 20th Century

Alan Turing, the father of computing, has been crowned the most iconic figure of the 20th century, beating other finalists including Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.

The celebrated scientist and wartime codebreaker was chosen by the public in a live broadcast of BBC Two’s Icons: The Greatest Person Of The 20th Century last night.

After Turing’s name was announced, presenter Nick Robinson said: ‘He was a man who worked almost entirely in secret, who received little credit for cracking the Nazi codes and shortening the war and who died having been branded a criminal.

‘Today he is the most celebrated figure of the 20th century – a father of computing, war hero and genius.’

Chris Packham, who backed Turing, said: ‘Alan Turing’s genius brought Britain back from the brink during WWII.

The other finalists included singer David Bowie, boxer Muhammad Ali and cubist painter Pablo Picasso

The interceptions made by Turing and his team are credited with helping end the war, as they enabled the Allied Forces to defeat the Germans in significant encounters including the Battle of the Atlantic.

In 1946, Turing was appointed an OBE for his services during the war, much of which still remains a secret.

Benedict Cumberbatch played Turing in 2014 Imitation Game

However, in 1952 he was prosecuted for homosexual acts, which was then a criminal offence in the UK.

As punishment, he was chemically castrated instead of going to prison. He took his own life in two years later.

Following a public outcry over his treatment and conviction, the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a public apology in 2009. In 2013, he was granted a posthumous pardon by the Queen.

A 2017 law, that retroactively pardoned all men cautioned or convicted for homosexual acts under historical legislation, was named in his honour.


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