“Turing was hounded,” [Professor Jack Copeland] told the BBC, adding: “Yet he remained cheerful and humorous.”
The preceding meme has been going around, in honor of Alan Turing, who was born on the 23rd of June in 1912. It is noble in its intent, and is far too modest in its assessment of Turing’s significance. It is also, sadly, correct that Turing was convicted under indecency laws in Britain and thus persecuted for being a homosexual.
“The thing is to tell the truth in so far as we know it, and not to speculate.
But its assertion that Turing committed suicide rather than submitting to hormonal treatments is false. He chose to undergo hormone treatments rather than go to prison — a vulgar indignity, but one that he went through and did not — by any means — avoid. And the story, in wide currency, that Turing committed suicide out of despair, is seriously suspect.
“Perhaps we should just shrug our shoulders, and focus on Turing’s life and extraordinary work.”
Turing’s significance is really difficult to overstate, but it’s easy to sound like an oversell in the process. But his story is fascinating and merits serious attention. Google agrees.