DENVER (KDVR) — Historical items that belonged to Sir Alan Turing, known as the father of computer science, were recovered in Colorado and returned to England, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced Tuesday.
The items, including his Ph.D. diploma from Princeton University, his Order of the British Empire Medal, a personal note from King George VI, school reports and photos, were returned this week to his boyhood school where his family originally placed them.
An investigation by Homeland Security Investigations found that the items were stolen from the school, Sherborne School in Dorset, England, in 1984 when a person named Julia Schinghomes visited and took the items, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
She later changed her name to Julia Turing. In 2018, the items were found when they were offered to be displayed at the University of Colorado Boulder, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The United States filed an action in the case, and the United States District Court for the District of Colorado entered a Final Order of Forfeiture for the items in May 2021.
The items were returned in a repatriation ceremony this week.
CU Boulder released the following statement:
With any rare or historically noteworthy item that is presented to the University of Colorado Boulder libraries, we conduct vigorous due diligence to determine provenance of the item. In this case, when provenance came into question, CU Boulder alerted the proper authorities who subsequently conducted an investigation. All of us at CU Boulder libraries are pleased the Turing materials have been returned to their rightful home.
Who was Alan Turing?
Turing was an English mathematician and computer scientist and was an instrumental codebreaker during World War II.
According to The Alan Turing Institute website, Turing invented “machines that can think” like computers and artificial intelligence.
Princeton University said he saved the Allies from the Nazis by breaking German codes during the war.
Despite his service, he was arrested and stripped of his security clearance as homosexuality was defined as a crime during that time, according to Princeton University. This ultimately led to his suicide at 41.