British Scientist Alan Turing Pardoned

alan-turing-photo-001British scientist Alan Turing, one of the grandfather’s of modern computing, has been given a posthumous pardon by Queen Elizabeth II.

Turing is remembered for cracking the German enigma code in World War II, one of the allies major breakthroughs in the war. His later work focused on how computers could complete mathematical tasks via algorithms is central to the functioning of modern computers.

In 1952 he was convicted of gross indecency. Turing, then 39, had been in a relationship with an unemployed 19 year old named Arnold Murray. The couples house was burgled and when they reported it to police they also admitted to being in a homosexual relationship. As this was illegal at the time the couple were both arrested.

Turing agreed to undergo a form of chemical castration to avoid going to jail. He was treated with synthetic female hormones for a year. As a result of his treatment he developed enlarged breasts and became impotent. Turing took his own life in 1954.

In 2009 British Prime Minister Gordon Brown acknowledged the injustice of Turing’s conviction. On Christmas Eve the Queen granted him a full pardon. British Justice Secretary Chris Gayling said Turing should be remembered and recognised for his fantastic contribution to the war effort” and not for his later criminal conviction.

OIP Staff