The saddest thing about Alan Turing is that he has been showered with recognition and praise only posthumously. He died in 1952; and while the events leading to his death remain ambiguous his treatment by the authorities in the preceding years was unambiguously shameful even looking through a lens of standards at the time. After admitting a homosexual encounter he was convicted of indecency, sentenced to chemical castration and had his security clearances revoked. This for a man whose work during the war, at what was probably the most sensitive and secret facility the allies had, was without reproach.
Today Turing is recognised as an outstanding mind who contributed hugely to the early development of computers. He should rightly be remembered for his enormous contributions, but equally as an example of how blind prejudice and homophobia can lead to appalling results.
Google has created a neat code-based Google Doodle in honour of the centenary of Turing’s birth. If you haven’t the patience to decode the puzzle there’s a video here that will show you how – but bear in mind that the puzzle just keeps coming back, getting more and more difficult every time.