Scientist Alan Turing was selected by the public as the most important and influential figure of the last century. The result was determined during a live broadcast of BBC 2’s program Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century. The show paid tribute to a number of iconic figures across a variety of categories including sports stars, entertainers and leaders such as Muhammad Ali, David Bowie and Nelson Mandela.
It was Turing’s genius in pioneering computer science that heavily contributed to him earning the top spot. Famously, his code breaking efforts at Bletchley Park during WWII proved pivotal in giving the allies an upper hand in the war. Socially, the maltreatment of Turing as a gay man who was prosecuted for gross indecency in 1952 provoked a legal amendment (Turing’s Law) that has pardoned 65,000 people convicted of similar “crimes”.
Locally, there are a number of homages to the scientist in Guildford, among which are a statue of commemoration on the University of Surrey’s Stag Hill campus and a road named in his honour here on the Surrey Research Park. Alan Turing’s parents bought a house in Guildford in 1927 where he grew up.
Look here for more information on Alan Turing’s commendation from Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century.