Alan Turing (1912-1954), a known code switch from World War II and pioneering computer scientist, who was convicted by the country, who was gay, finally received the obituary in the New York Times – 65 years after his death.
Obituaries were published on Wednesday (June 5), as part of a “neglected” series to include late “time” for obituaries for historical figures whose deaths were first reported in newspaper obituaries.
Today, Turing’s achievements are well-known, thanks in part to the 2014 “The Imitation Game” biography. His legacy includes monitoring the most secret messages sent by Britain from the Nazi Enigma machine and post-war work on decoded computers that first functioned in England. He is probably best known for the “Turing Test”, a hypothetical assessment that asks whether a computer is suitable for someone proposed by mathematicians in 1950.
However, after Turing’s death on June 7, 1954, many of his military achievements remained secret and success in thwarting the Nazi plan for war is still unknown. His reputation was even lower in 1952, when, after a burglary at his home, Turing showed that he had a physical relationship with another man. Turing was convicted under Victorian law “dirty fornication” for open homosexuality and ordered estrogen pills to reduce sexual desire (known as “chemical castration” to reduce one’s approach).
These events overshadowed Turing’s reputation for the rest of his life (he died of poisoning due to suicide) and for decades after his death. It was not until 2009 that the British government apologized for the way he treated Turing and in 2013 finally received royal forgiveness from Queen Elizabeth II. According to the Times, the British did it in 1967. During the remainder of this June the “Neglected” series this year added stories about important LGBT figures who made the first steps towards decriminalizing homosexuality.