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The Alan Turing Memorial, situated in the Whitworth Gardens in Manchester, England, is in memory of a father of modern computing. Turing died in 1954 after being prosecuted by the police because of his (then illegal) homosexuality. As such he is as much a gay icon as an icon of computing, and it's no coincidence that this memorial is situated near Canal Street, Manchester's famous gay village.
He is 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 Manchester's gay village.
The statue was unveiled on June 23, 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. The Fund eventually raised around £15,000, which was far short of the £50,000 needed to have the statue cast in Britain; no major computer companies donated to the fund. The statue was instead cast in China.
Turing is shown holding an apple, a symbol classically used to represent forbidden love, as well as being both the fruit of the tree of knowledge (the object that fell on Isaac Newton in legend) and the means of Turing's own death (Turing ate a cyanide-laced 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 ROMSI ADXUO KVKZC GUBJ'.
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." It is said that, buried under the plinth, is an old Amstrad computer.
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