#QueerHeroes Day 13 – Alan Turing

#QueerHeroes Day 13.
Alan Turing.

Turing was the father of modern computing. Born in 1912, he started showing signs of mathematical genius at an early age. As early as sixteen, he grasped and expanded on Einstein’s theories.

After college, he theorized a machine that could take instructions from different combinations of 1’s and 0’s. At first, he imagined a person doing this. A person he called “The Computer.”

He was hired as a cryptographer by the British government, faced with the unenviable task of cracking the seemingly invincible German codes produced by their Enigma Machine. Even the best cryptographers were stumped until Turing invented the Bombe—a giant machine that could examine messages for patterns and deduce possibilities from them. When the machine was proven to work, Churchill himself commanded Turing’s department be granted any resources they asked. There were two hundred working bombes by the end of the war.

In 1952, Turing’s flat was robbed. He reported it to the police and confessed that his male lover may have been the culprit. Turing was charged with gross indecency. Given the choice between chemical castration or prison, Turing went with the chemical option.

Two years later, Turing was found dead of cyanide poisoning believed to have been suicide. There was a half eaten apple by his bed.

Legend has it that the apple went on to inspire the famous Apple logo. Turing was granted a royal pardon (not an apology) in 2013.

If you’re reading this, thank Alan Turing.

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