If you don't know who Alan Turing was, then shame on you. The British code breaker, mathematics genius and father of both computer science and artificial intelligence is rightly credited with helping to bring the second world war to an end. Turing was also gay, and that's where the shame has stuck firmly on the UK establishment for more than 60 years. Turing was convicted for 'homosexual activity' in 1952, and his punishment was to be chemically castrated.
This shameful and appaling conviction meant that Turing was unable to continue his pioneering code-breaking work at Bletchley Park as he lost his security clearance. He also lost his life, committing suicide just two years later. Now, some 59 years after his death, Alan Turing has finally been given a pardon by Queen Elizabeth II under the 'Royal Prerogative of Mercy'.
Turing is widely credited with shortening the second world war by at least two years thanks to his work that helped crack the German Enigma codes at Bletchley Park. He went on, after the war, to work for the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) until his security clearance was revoked thanks to that conviction. He died as a result of suicide poisoning, assumed a suicide at the age of just 41 although some gay rights campaigners have today called for a full investigation into the possibility that he was murdered by British intelligence forces as he was perversely considered a threat to national security because of a combination of his knowledge and sexual orientation.