Alan Turing Memorial

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Coordinates: 53°28′36.2″N2°14′9.7″W / 53.476722°N 2.236028°W / 53.476722; -2.236028

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Flowers on the Alan Turing Memorial. Picture taken 22 June 2018, the day before Turing's 106th birthday. Alan Turing's statue surrounded by flowers on his birthday 2018.jpg
Flowers on the Alan Turing Memorial. Picture taken 22 June 2018, the day before Turing's 106th birthday.

The Alan Turing Memorial, situated in Sackville Park in Manchester, England, [1] is in memory of Alan Turing, [2] a pioneer of modern computing. Turing is believed to have committed suicide in 1954 two years after being convicted of gross indecency (i.e. homosexual acts). As such he is as much a gay icon as an icon of computing, and it is no coincidence that this memorial is situated near Canal Street, Manchester's gay village. [3]

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous built-up area, with a population of 2.7 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Alan Turing mathematician and computer scientist

Alan Mathison Turing was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist. Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Despite these accomplishments, he was never fully recognised in his home country during his lifetime, due to his homosexuality, which was then a crime in the UK.

Turing is depicted sitting on a bench situated in a central position in the park. On Turing's left is the University of Manchester and on his right is Canal Street.

University of Manchester public research university in Manchester, England

The University of Manchester is a public research university in Manchester, England, formed in 2004 by the merger of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and the Victoria University of Manchester. The University of Manchester is a red brick university, a product of the civic university movement of the late 19th century.

The statue was unveiled on 23 June, Turing's birthday, in 2001. It was conceived by Richard Humphry, a barrister from Stockport, who set up the Alan Turing Memorial Fund in order to raise the necessary funds. Humphry had come up with the idea of a statue after seeing Hugh Whitemore's play Breaking the Code, starring Sir Derek Jacobi. Jacobi became the patron of the Fund. Glyn Hughes, an industrial sculptor from Adlington near Westhoughton, was commissioned to sculpt the statue. [4] Roy Jackson (who had previously raised funds for HIV/AIDS and Gay Awareness in Manchester) was asked to assist in the funding raising to make the memorial happen. Within 12 months, through donations and a "village lottery", the money was raised. This allowed the statue to be cast in China. Glyn Hughes had found contacts that could manufacture and ship an identical bronze statue to that which would have cost c. £50,000 in the UK. The cost of the memorial was achieved with the £16,000 raised.

Hugh John Whitemore was an English playwright and screenwriter.

Derek Jacobi British actor and film director

Sir Derek George Jacobi is an English actor and stage director.

Thomas Glynfor "Glyn" Hughes was a Welsh professional footballer, who played as a winger. He made appearances in the English football league in the 1950s for Welsh clubs Wrexham and Newport County.

Turing Memorial plaque. Sackville Park Turing plaque.jpg
Turing Memorial plaque.

Turing is shown holding an apple. The cast bronze bench carries in relief the text "Alan Mathison Turing 1912–1954" and the motto "Founder of Computer Science" as it would appear if encoded by an Enigma machine; 'IEKYF RQMSI ADXUO KVKZC GUBJ'. However this appears to be an "artist's impression" of an ENIGMA encryption, rather than an actual one. ENIGMA could not encode a letter as itself and there is a letter "U" at position 14 of both the plain-text and the cipher.

Enigma machine German cipher machine

The Enigma machines are a series of electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines, mainly developed and used in the early- to mid-20th century to protect commercial, diplomatic and military communication. Enigma was invented by the German engineer Arthur Scherbius at the end of World War I. Early models were used commercially from the early 1920s, and adopted by military and government services of several countries, most notably Nazi Germany before and during World War II. Several different Enigma models were produced, but the German military models, having a plugboard, were the most complex. Japanese and Italian models were also in use.

A plaque at the statue's feet says "Father of computer science, mathematician, logician, wartime codebreaker, victim of prejudice". There is also a Bertrand Russell quotation saying "Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture."

Bertrand Russell British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist and Nobel laureate

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. At various points in his life, Russell considered himself a liberal, a socialist and a pacifist, although he also confessed that his skeptical nature had led him to feel that he had "never been any of these things, in any profound sense." Russell was born in Monmouthshire into one of the most prominent aristocratic families in the United Kingdom.

See also

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Canal Street (Manchester) street in Manchester

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Sackville Gardens

Sackville Gardens in Manchester, England, is bounded by Manchester College's Shena Simon Campus on one side and Whitworth Street, Sackville Street and the Rochdale Canal and Canal Street on the others. The land was purchased by Manchester Corporation in 1900 and laid out with walks, lawns and flower beds. Known as Whitworth Gardens, it was planned to complement the Municipal College of Technology's Sackville Street Building.

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Sackville Street (Manchester) street in Manchester, England

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References

  1. SJ8497: Alan Turing Memorial, Sackville Park, Manchester, Geograph, UK.
  2. Andrew Hodges, Memorial sculpture of Alan Turing in Sackville Park, Manchester, The Alan Turing Internet Scrapbook, The Alan Turing Home Page, UK.
  3. Cooksey, Katie (24 December 2013). "Alan Turing: Manchester celebrates pardoned genius". BBC News Online.
  4. Alan Turing Memorial, Sackville Street Gardens, Lost in Manchester, Blogspot, 15 May 2009.