June 7th 1954: Alan Turing dies
On this day in 1954, the British mathematician and scientist Alan Turing died. Turing is considered the father of computer science and artificial intelligence with his invention of the ‘Turing machine’ (a precursor to the modern computer). He was also a crucial part of England’s code breaking team during World War Two, developing ways to break German messages from the Enigma machine. However, in 1952 he was arrested for his homosexuality (when it was still illegal in Britain) and accepted chemical castration rather than prison. Turing suffered side effects from the treatment and two years later died from cyanide poisoning, supposedly from an apple found by his bed. Whilst some claim it was accidental, an inquest determined Turing had committed suicide due to the persecution he suffered. In 2009, following a popular online petition, Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a posthumous apology to Alan Turing.
“We’re sorry, you deserved so much better”
- Gordon Brown, 2009