Gertsch Group

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, University of Bern, Switzerland

Late apology for a great British scientist

Late apology for a great British scientist
Jurg Gertsch - Mon Sep 14, 2009 @ 04:30AM
Comments: 1

Alan Turing, one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, father of the modern computer, brilliant cryptanalyst, inventor of the Turing machine and the very first computer algorithms is probably one of the most tragic figures in the history of science. Despite the fact that during the 2nd world war Turing was able to crack the Enigma code and thus played a very important role for Britain and probably the rest of the world, in 1952 Turing was convicted for engaging in homosexual acts. He could choose between prison or chemical castration. Being a man of liberty he underwent forced hormone therapy, meaning that he was forced to take female sex hormones (e.g estrogen), which should have "healed" him, but rather caused him a lot of physiological and psychological problems - What a tragedy, how absurd. This is not how to treat your greatest minds in the country, is it. But then, in the 1950s the world was different. Since Turing was publicly gay, his ongoing promising consulting work with the government was terminated. After the conviction and chemical treatment his life took a steady downhill side and in 1954, he committed suicide. On the 10th of September 2009 the Prime Minister apologized. One of the sadest episodes in the more recent history of science. Read the full story in David Bodanis "The electric universe".

Comments: 1

Comments

1. James   |   Sat Jan 24, 2015 @ 09:02PM

In 2013 also the Queen apologized - so it took another 4 years ... and now the big move is out about his life.

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