Alan Turing commemorative stamp

Alan Turing will get his own UK commemorative stamp in 2012. It will be fun to use it on sealed envelopes, as a kind of cherry-on-the-top for the traditional crypto argument that scrambling messages is the same as putting them in an envelope, as opposed to writing them on postcards.

The computer pioneer is one of 10 prominent people chosen for the Royal Mail's Britons of Distinction stamps, to be launched in February, which includes the allied war heroine Odette Hallowes of the Special Operations Executive, composer Frederick Delius and architect Sir Basil Spence, to mark the golden jubilee of Coventry Cathedral.

Turing worked as part of the team that cracked the Enigma code at Bletchley Park, and went on to help create the world's first modern computer. This year marks the centenary of his birth.

Codebreaker Alan Turing gets stamp of approval

(Image: Alan Turing, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from zoonabar's photostream)


  1. I think it is most probable that the British government had Alan Turing assassinated. They believed it a threat to public morality if it became known that WWII’s biggest hero was a homosexual.

    1. Regardless of whether his cyanide poisoning was murder or suicide, he *was* chemically castrated because he was homosexual. That trial and conviction would have been a matter of public record by that time.

  2. A couple years ago I came across what was probably a yearbook photograph of a young, smiling Alan Turing. He looked so goddamned innocent and beautiful that my grandfatherly heart ached.

  3. Every time I hear him described as a “code-breaker” a little part of me dies. Turing was one of the most profound, subtle, and original mathematical intellects of the 20th century. Does the news media have to portray him as a sort of gay cross between James Bond and Steve Jobs (not that that would be a bad thing, I’m sure) ?

  4. About bloody time. 

    This has a slight synchronicity for me as I’ve just started reading “Cryptonomicon” and Turing pops up quite a bit. 

    The apology from the British PM seemed sincere but the conviction still stands. He deserves a pardon at the very least, a brilliant man who gave the best years of his wonderfully creative life to aid his country and they drove him to suicide.

  5. Disturbingly, there are people still living in Britain who have criminal records and are registered as sex offenders for breach of the same law for which Turing was convicted.

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