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UK government apologies to Alan Turing

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UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown last week issued a postmortem formal apology to Alan Turing for its “appalling” and “utterly unfair” treatment of Turing because he was gay. Turing was a brilliant English “mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst” whose work led to the breaking of World War II Germany’s Enigma codes as well as developing theories which would ultimately result in the development of the modern computer. Despite his genius and contributions, homosexuality was still considered a felony then and in 1952 he was criminally convicted of “gross indecency,” lost his security clearance, job and sentenced to chemical castration. Two years later, he committed suicide, dying from cyanide poisoning. It’s sad that it took this long for an apology, but it’s even sadder that an apology had to be made at all. Words will never be able to erase the persecution Turing and others had to endure, but lets hope Gordon Brown and the government’s statement is another positive step in the right direction.

Read the full apology here.