Monday, September 14, 2009

British PM says sorry for computer pioneer's castration

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has apologised for the treatment of World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, who committed suicide after being convicted and chemically castrated for being a homosexual.

Mathematician Turing led a team at Bletchley Park House north of London, which cracked the Nazis' Enigma code - regarded by the Germans as unbreakable - a move credited with helping to shorten the war and to save countless lives.

However, five years after the war he was convicted of gross indecency under laws that banned homosexuality and was sentenced to chemical castration involving a series of injections of female hormones.

The conviction meant Turing, a pioneer of modern computing, losing his security clearance and being unable to continue his work. In 1954 he killed himself at the age of 41.

Not much of a reward for his work during World War Two. Civil rights really have progressed a bit since the 1950s.

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1 comment:

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