Alan Turing (1912-1954)
An eccentric British mathematician, widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence.
Turing broke the Nazi Enigma code, playing a crucial role in the allied victory in WWII.
At 13, he was sent to a large boarding school, with a rigid syllabus, so Turing studied advanced modern scientific ideas, such as relativity, on his own.
He also introduced the notion of a universal computing machine, the "Turing Machine” — the basis of the modern computer.
Its purpose was to decode the Enigma, the principal cipher machine used by German military to encrypt radio communications, thought to be unbreakable.
His work shortened the war by more than 2 years and saved over 14 million lives.
At the war's end, Turing was named Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).
In 1950, he wrote a pivotal paper on artificial intelligence, and proposed the “Turing Test," which is remains relevant today.
In 1952, he was arrested and charged with “indecency” after a brief relationship with another man.
Defiant, Turing did not deny the charges.
Turing refused to let it sway him from his work.
It's believed that led to him taking his own life in 1954, by eating an apple laced with cyanide.
Turing was only 41 years old.
60 years later, Queen Elizabeth II officially pardoned him.
In 2017, the UK passed "The Alan Turing law"— which retroactively pardoned men convicted for homosexuality.