This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 25 January, 2020
Advertisement

The incredible story of Alan Turing, who helped beat the Nazis but was then persecuted for his sexuality

Turing, known as the father of modern computing, helped give the Allies their biggest tactical advantage against the Axis forces but died an ignominious death.

Image: jessie_st.amand via Creative Commons/fotopedia/Flickr

WORLD WAR II had many heroes whose names everyone knows: Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, and Douglas MacArthur are only a few. But those who worked behind the scenes are less known, often because they worked with “classified” information.

One such person is Alan Turing, the man who helped give the Allies their biggest tactical advantage against the Axis forces and is the father of much of modern computing, yet was censured for his sexual orientation after the war and died an ignominious death.

But not everyone is content to let him rest in infamy. Last month, a petition was circulated in the UK to honour Turing by putting his face on the new £10 notes.

So this being the centenary of his birth, we decided to dig into his contributions to the war and science.

The incredible story of Alan Turing, who helped beat the Nazis but was then persecuted for his sexuality
1 / 13
  • Alan Turing was born in London on June 23, 1912

  • He studied mathematics and later taught quantum mechanics at Cambridge University

  • During World War II, he worked at the British government's code and cipher headquarters, Bletchley Park

  • It was at Bletchley Park that Turing achieved his crowning glory: breaking the German Navy's Enigma Code

  • The Enigma machine, originally developed in the 1920s, enabled its operator to type a message, then ‘scramble’ it using a letter substitution system, generated by variable rotors and an electric circuit

  • Turing led the team that designed a machine known as a 'bombe', which was successful in decoding German messages as early as 1940

  • After the War, Turing's work at Manchester University formed the basis of artificial intelligence research

  • Despite helping the Allies win WWII, Turing was arrested for being gay in January 1952

  • He chose to receive estrogen treatments to "cure" himself, rather than face imprisonment. His career was ruined, and the hormones made him impotent and depressed

  • On June 7, 1954, he died by suicide after eating an apple laced with cyanide

  • In 2009, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a formal apology for the "appalling" treatment of Turing, but refused to pardon his conviction

  • However, the government has put Turing's face on Royal Mail stamps multiple times over the last few years

  • There is now also an e-petition requesting that England place him on the next £10 note

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

Published with permission from:

Business Insider
Business Insider is a business site with strong financial, media and tech focus.

Read next:

COMMENTS (14)