Queer Tech History / Alan Turing

November 28, 2023
Alan Turing is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of computer science,  and his work profoundly affected the fields of mathematics, computer science, and cryptography. 


In 1936, he published his groundbreaking paper, "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem," where he introduced the concept of a theoretical computing machine, now known as the Turing machine. The Turing machine became a fundamental concept in the study of algorithms and computation and served as the basis for the development of modern computers. 

During World War II, Turing joined the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, where he worked on breaking the German Enigma code. His work was instrumental in Allied intelligence efforts and played a crucial role in the war's outcome. ​​After the war, Turing worked at the National Physical Laboratory, where he designed the Automatic Computing Engine, one of the first designs for a stored-program computer.

In 1952, he was prosecuted for "gross indecency.".  Homosexual acts were criminal offenses in the United Kingdom at that time, and it was not uncommon for Gay men to be criminally prosecuted. He was subjected to hormone therapy as punishment. Turing's conviction also led to the removal of his security clearance and barred him from continuing with his cryptographic consultancy for the government. 

Tragically, Turing died on June 7, 1954, at the age of 41, marking a profound loss to the scientific and computing communities. ​​Alan Turing's genius and pioneering work have left an enduring legacy, and he is celebrated today as one of the greatest mathematicians and computer scientists in history. His contributions to science and his role in breaking the Enigma code continue to be celebrated worldwide.

References & Resources
Overlooked No More: Alan Turing, Condemned Code Breaker and Computer Visionary

8 things you didn’t know about Alan Turing
Alan Turing: The Enigma
Alan Turing - Celebrating the life of a genius
The Imitation Game (2014)