BBC Viewers Vote Alan Turing As “Most Iconic” Person Of 20th Century After Stunning Speech By Presenter

ABC News reports:

World War II codebreaker Alan Turing has been named the most “iconic” figure of the 20th century, fighting off competition from international leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela. The scientist was chosen in a public vote during a live broadcast of BBC Two’s Icons: The Greatest Person Of The 20th Century.

One of the most influential figures in the development of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, Turing also played a vital part in the development of the Enigma Machine at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.

After Turing’s name was announced, presenter Nick Robinson said: “He was a man who worked almost entirely in secret, who received little credit for cracking the Nazi codes and shortening the war and who died having been branded a criminal.

Digital Spy reports:

Advocating for Turing was presenter Chris Packham, who delivered a passionate speech about Turing’s life and legacy.

Packham went on to explain how, during his lifetime, Turing was persecuted because of his sexuality and eventually died by suicide, calling his death “an unforgiving tattoo on humanity’s conscious”.

“All he got for all of his toil and all of our trouble was a poisoned apple,” Packham said. “A genius, a saviour, but he was also autistic and gay so we betrayed him and drove him to suicide. Shame. Writ large his death, an unforgiving tattoo on humanity’s conscious.”

You MUST watch Packham’s speech. Whoa.