London’s Science Museum is celebrating the life of pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing with a new, year-long exhibition which opens in June.
Turing’s genius for code breaking is widely credited for ending the Second World War much earlier than would otherwise have been the case and for being instrumental in the Allies’ victory.
In 1952 Turing was prosecuted for his homosexuality and underwent chemical castration to avoid a prison sentence. He died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning.
Earlier this month the coalition Government rejected calls for Turing to be granted an official pardon, despite former Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologising in 2009 for his treatment.
The exhibition, timed to coincide with the centenary of his birth, will celebrate his work with a collection of artefacts, including machines he devised and devices that influenced him and his colleagues.
Highlights will include parts of the revolutionary electromechanical ‘bombe’ machines devised by Turing during World War II to crack codes and German military Enigma machines.
Science Museum exhibition curator, David Rooney, said “The exhibition is an opportunity to present the remarkable work of a man whose influence reaches into perhaps the most widespread and increasingly popular public pastime of the 21st century, the use of the personal computing device, yet whose name is probably unfamiliar to the vast majority of people.
“Turing’s scientific creations and wartime heroics are beyond question but we are able to show a more complete portrait of the man who, far from being the cold, insular lone genius of popular belief, can be seen as a convivial character with many endearing qualities.
“Turing, who had undoubted eccentricities and a particular intensity of thought, debated complicated theories with colleagues while running Olympic-standard races and was regarded with affection by colleagues throughout his career. His treatment at the end of his life is a source of national shame.”
The exhibition is being supported by Google
Codebreaker – Alan Turing’s life and legacy
Exhibition dates: 21 June 2012 – June 2013
Admission: FREE Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD
Open daily 10.00 to 18.00, except 24-26 December
www.sciencemuseum.org.uk / 0870 870 4868