His code breaking prowess helped the Allies outfox the Nazis, his theories laid the foundation for the computer age, and his work on artificial intelligence still informs the debate over whether machines can think.
But Alan Turing was gay, and 1950s Britain punished the mathematician’s sexuality with a criminal conviction, intrusive surveillance and hormone treatment meant to extinguish his sex drive. It is estimated that hundreds of men were arrested each year in the early 1950s for what was then considered illegal homosexual activity.
Now, nearly half a century after the war hero’s suicide, Queen Elizabeth II has finally granted Turing a pardon.
Photo: Jon Callas