Alan Turing was a British mathematician and computer scientist who helped crack Nazi Germany’s ‘Enigma’ code and laid the groundwork for all modern computing as we know it. Despite his brilliant work and contributions to winning the war, Alan was grossly mistreated by the British government because of his preference in sexuality. Now, 59 years after his apparent suicide by cyanide poisining, Turing has been issued a posthumous pardon by Queen Elizabeth!
The Associated Press reports:
Turing made no secret of his sexuality, and being gay could easily lead to prosecution in post-war Britain. In 1952, Turing was convicted of “gross indecency” over his relationship with another man, and he was stripped of his security clearance, subjected to monitoring by British authorities, and forced to take estrogen to neutralize his sex drive – a process described by some as chemical castration.
After being convicted of gross indecency because of his same-sex preference, he was forced to undergo a series of injections that caused him to become impotent and grow breasts. This pardon comes after a lengthy campaign and request by Chris Grayling, the British government’s Justice Minister, to secure an apology for Turing’s mistreatment. A previous petition from back in 2011 was denied by Lord McNally after he claimed Turing was “properly convicted,” according to The Verge.
Turing was instrumental in cracking critical Nazi communications using one of the world’s first computers and went on to become one of the 20th century’s most influential scientists. Many of his inventions and theories still live on today like the Turing machine and Turing test used to assess the artificial intelligence of machines.
Alan Turing Statue at Bletchley Park image by Gerald Massey