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lan Mathison Turing was a brilliant British mathematician of the early twentieth century, considered by many to be the father of the computer and the one who contributed decisively to decoding German messages in World War II, which was crucial for the Allies in defeating Nazi Germany. He was also gay. Unfortunately, this last characteristic contributed decisively to a society blinded by ideology and a faulty sense of morality.

Alan Turing’s inclinations for the exact sciences have manifested themselves since adolescence. He was born on June 23, 1912, in England, into a typical family where his parents often traveled to India. Thus, he grew away from them, also the family’s disappointment, as he wanted to pursue a career in mathematics, not in the classical fields and foreign languages, as was the model of a gentleman of that time.

The Turing Machine (the first pre-modern computer) (Source: Surrey Archive)

Only when he arrived at Kings College did he find his place. Among other things, he was interested in a wide range of fields, from biology, to chemistry, physics, and even neurology. He was interested in Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He was also a good runner, with sports being one of his favorite activities.

Having a different perspective

His peculiarity that also contributed to his genius was that he did not conform to the dispositions of society. He used to “think outside the box,” coming up with ideas that a more logical thinker could not come up with. Thus, he created the Turing machine which was the basis for the first computers. This quality was also used by the Allies when decoding messages from German enemies in World War II, including Enigma codes, which allowed Britain to learn important messages about future enemy strategies.

Turing rowed for King’s in the May Bumps shortly after his election to a Fellowship in 1935 (Source: Imagine Amplified)

Since 1950, it has focused on the way cars can think, which has resulted in a test for artificial intelligence that is still used today. He also established a new field, called mathematical biology, in morphogenesis.

Then it became a disaster. He did not keep his sexual orientation hidden, which led to his arrest for the “crime” of being homosexual in 1952, according to British law at the time. He acknowledged this in court, noting that it should not be against the law.

The sentence was about chemical castration, which contained a series of injections that made him impotent. The fact that he was subjected to public humiliation and castration was not enough. His homosexuality was also a risk factor, which led to his inability to work in his field.

These things were too much for Turin, and he committed suicide on June 7, 1954, at the age of 42.

I cannot stop imagining what other sorts of contributions Alan would have invented towards our post-modern technology as his work sits at the base of modern technology today.

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