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The Strange Life and Death of Dr Turing

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Alan Turing: Inquest's suicide verdict 'not supportable'
By Roland Pease BBC Radio Science Unit

Alan Turing, the British mathematical genius and codebreaker born 100 years ago on 23 June, may not have committed suicide, as is widely believed.

At a conference in Oxford on Saturday, Turing expert Prof Jack Copeland will question the evidence that was presented at the 1954 inquest.

He believes the evidence would not today be accepted as sufficient to establish a suicide verdict.

Indeed, he argues, Turing's death may equally probably have been an accident.

What is well known and accepted is that Alan Turing died of cyanide poisoning.MORE HERE

Conviction for indecency

In January 1952, Turing met a man called Arnold Murray outside a cinema in Manchester. After a lunch date, Turing invited Murray to spend the weekend with him at his house, an invitation which Murray accepted although he did not show up. The pair met again in Manchester the following Monday, when Murray agreed to accompany Turing to the latter's house. A few weeks later Murray visited Turing's house again, and apparently spent the night there.

After Murray helped an accomplice to break into his house, Turing reported the crime to the police. During the investigation, Turing acknowledged a sexual relationship with Murray. Homosexual acts were illegal in the United Kingdom at that time, and so both were charged with gross indecency under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885.

Turing was given a choice between imprisonment or probation conditional on his agreement to undergo hormonal treatment designed to reduce libido. He accepted chemical castration via injections of stilboestrol, a synthetic oestrogen hormone.

Turing's conviction led to the removal of his security clearance, and barred him from continuing with his cryptographic consultancy for the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British signals intelligence agency that had evolved from GCCS in 1946. At the time, there was acute public anxiety about spies and homosexual entrapment by Soviet agents, because of the recent exposure of the first two members of the Cambridge Five, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, as KGB double agents. Turing was never accused of espionage but, as with all who had worked at Bletchley Park, was prevented from discussing his war work. http://en.wikipedia.org/...

IMAO: The sad circumstances inflicted upon the genius of Alan Turing (because of sexual orientation discrimination) during the 1950's, is NO DOUBT, one of those times in our human history that the Republicans would like to take us back to... thinkingblue

Happy One Hundredth Birthday To Alan Turing

Originally posted to thinkingblue on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 09:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Science Matters.

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