I have been compelled to write this after the events of the past 24 hours and in response to the very moving tributes being paid to Steve Jobs, who very sadly died last night after a long battle with Pancreatic Cancer.
I'm not going to write about the many achievements Jobs has been responsible for. I don't need to.
I'd bet most people today became aware of his unfortunate death through a device that he was directly responsible for.
This, I think is a fitting tribute in itself.
Instead, I want to just write about something which I have only recently became aware of.
Its a tale of how two men, who lived in different times shared one very important appetite for science.
The story starts almost 100 years ago...
Alan Mathison Turing was born on 23 June 1912 in England.
He grew up to become known as the father of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, after being the driving force behind the code breaking war against the Germans, the turning point of World War Two.
Post war, after his heroic work at Bletchley Park with Enigma, he created the first design for the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine) which many leading experts in the modern world of computer science regard as the first ever P.C.
It was groundbreaking, and it propelled Turing to the forefront of computer science in the late 40's.
To this day, Turings designes for the ACE are still used in modern technology. Bill Gates and indeed Steve Jobs, would not have been able to create the masterpieces so many of us enjoy today, without his pioneering work.
After all this service and commitment to the country, in 1952 Alan Turing was prosecuted for Homosexuality.
In passing judgment, the courts gave Turing the option of either jail, or accepting Chemical Castration.
Unable to face the horrors of 50's prison life, Turing chose to be 'treated' alternatively, and was chemically castrated the following day.
A sad point to note through all of this is that Turing was actually seeking help from the police after a lover of his had stolen and attacked him in his home.
When he explained to the police that the suspect was actually his lover, they no longer pursued the other man for his crimes, instead they turned to Turing for his own actions and seeked a prosecution against him.
It seemed, Turing had been left alone. The country had turned its back on him, regardless of his services during the war and to modern science.
Turing committed suicide two years after his conviction of Homosexuality, and was found dead on his bed. He'd died of cyanide poisoning which he'd ingested by lacing an apple with the substance and taking a bite out of it.
Steve Jobs, as we all agree, has been the master of his field. Our life in 2011 has been designed by Apple. Everywhere I look, even as I'm typing this very article, there's that iconic symbol of an apple with a chunk bitten out of it. He has changed the world. And in doing so, he's given a nod of respect to Turing for his groundbreaking platform, from which all of Apple's success has been built upon.
I think it will be an awfully long time before the next Steve Jobs comes along.
Rest in Peace.
Thanks to my dear friend Bruce for taking the time to tell me this story recently!!