BLETCHLEY PARK / WASHINGTON DC, 23 June – Today is British mathematician Alan Turing’s 100th birthday! Today is American law Title IX’s 40th anniversary! Today is an extraordinary day in Civil Rights history!
Perhaps no single human being sits at the nexus of 2012′s culture and technology moment more completely than Alan Turing. As one of the greatest minds information science has ever known he not only saved countless British lives in World War II, and by some accounts saved the British Empire itself, but he also advanced fundamental ideas that remain powerful half a century later. As a victim of homophobia he lost everything, including ultimately, his life. In this contemporary moment defined by Arab Spring, by Occupy, by Wikileaks, by so many voices crying for freedom and civil rights, and shouting that cry across the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, Cell Phones, no one embodies the duality of this moment more bittersweetly than Alan Turing.
Forty years ago today American law declared,
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity
While the results of Title IX have been most famously celebrated in the many girls and women who have achieved success in high school, college, and Olympic athletics, it has been just as important in creating educational opportunities across the high school and college campus. Today girls and women are denied access to almost nothing, yet differential recruiting and support mean that boys and men are still tracked into higher paying careers and girls and women into lower paying. A dream incomplete, Title IX has improved the lives of generations of American women.
Today in 2012 Turing’s mathematical and computer science visions continue to inspire us as we press on into our techno-cultural future. Turing and Title IX’s dreams of equal rights continue to be imperfect, not fully realized dreams, that we continuously strive to do better at.
Happy Birthday Mr. Turing!
Happy Anniversary Title IX!
Press on for Civil Rights!