England from 1952 to 2022 – 09.10.2022. – Elio Gaspari
Elizabeth II died on Thursday. On February 6, 1952, she was just a princess and she was in Kenya. He climbed to the top of the canopy and, on his way down, learned that King George Sixth, his father, had died in his sleep at Buckingham Palace. At the age of 26, she became the Queen of England.
During his long reign many changes took place. Here’s one, for anyone handling a £50 note.
A month before the death of George Sixth, the house of Professor Alan Turing was robbed. He was 39 years old and was a distinguished mathematician, a top Englishman. They took clothes, a compass and several knives. A £50 thing. Turing reported it to the police, and fingerprints on the glass confirmed his suspicions. A young man with whom he had possible homosexual relations was involved in the robbery. He threatened to tell everything and he told everything.
As the bells tolled for the death of George Sixth, the case changed. There was looting, but there were also violations of the 1855 law, which provided for a sentence of up to two years in prison for those who engaged in “indecent activities.” In 1951, 174 Englishmen were convicted for violating this law. Basically, they got less than six months in prison. Showcase English, Turing himself told the police about his relationship with the young man.
A few days after the king’s funeral, the boy went to prison. Turing returned home after posting bail. In March 1952, he was tried and sentenced to “qualified treatment”.
In the 1950s, homosexuality was considered a disease, and Turing underwent hormonal treatment. Injections of female hormones were thought to reduce the libido of homosexuals. (In the United States, another medical trend prevailed, and in 11 states “patients” were castrated.)
The professor became impotent and his breasts grew.
On June 7, 1954, one year after the coronation of Elizabeth II, Turing was found dead in his home. There was potassium cyanide in his body and the hypothesis of suicide prevails to this day.
(The previous year Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister, was forbidden to marry pilot Peter Townsend. During the war he shot down nine German planes but was divorced. The following year saw the coronation of King Charles III, a widower who married ex-divorcee Shanda and ex-Parker Bowles Camila, his lover for decades and granddaughter of the girlfriend of Edward VII, the monarch’s grandfather.)
England has Alan Turing to thank for one of its greatest military victories during World War II. In 1939 he was recruited to work in secret facilities of the English government trying to break German military codes. Reich’s cryptography mixed the letters of the alphabet into a soup of 105,000 possibilities. Later, these possibilities reached 1.3 trillion.
Turing envisioned a device with about 20 kilometers of wires and more than a million circuits, initially called The Bomb and later, Colossus. The super clamp began to operate in mid-1940. Two years later, the movements of German Marshal Rommel’s troops in North Africa were heard by 50 English machines. By 1943, they deciphered about 3,000 messages a day.
Turing was not the only author of the venture, but without him perhaps German cryptography would not have been broken. It was a time when America’s first computer weighed over four tons and cost about $8.5 million in today’s money. Today, every iPhone is 5000 times more powerful.
Around 10,000 people worked in the British operation, most of them women. In 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill had all the machines and traces of Colossus destroyed, delaying the progress of the English computer industry for several years. Years earlier, following a letter from scientists (including Turing), Churchill had ordered the red tape that stood in the way of service to be unblocked. It was such a secret thing that its existence was not known until decades later. (The grandmother of Kate Middleton, the current Duchess of Cambridge, worked there, but she would not say what she did.)
In 1990, the British government apologized for what he had done to Turing, and in 2013 he was pardoned by Elizabeth II. The 1855 law turned to dust, and in 2014 all people convicted under it were retroactively acquitted.
Last year, when Alan Turing’s portrait began to grace the £50 note, the 1952 princess had already celebrated her 70th year of reign with a Diamond Jubilee.
In 1936, at the age of 24, Alan Turing published his article “On Computable Numbers” in an academic journal, hinting at what would be a “universal machine”. It will become a turning point in the history of computers.
Scholars of the time considered it too theoretical, and the journal received only two requests for copies of the text. In 2013, the only private copy of this article was sold for 205 thousand pounds, which is equivalent to R$ 1.2 million today.
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