Monday, May 25, 2009
British Naval Codebreaker Castrated By Government For Being Gay
Alan Turing was the inspirational mathematician at the heart of Bletchley Park's codebreaking successes during World War II. Historians agree that the work of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park effectively helped to shorten the war by two years and saved tens of thousands of lives.
Alan Turing arrived at Bletchley Park, the site of secret British codebreaking activities during WWII and birthplace of the modern computer, in September 1939 and was soon pursuing his idea of building a machine that would break the Enigma key. He became head of the small Naval Enigma team in Hut 8 and contributed greatly to the breaking of the German Naval Enigma. By August 1940, Turing, together with his friend and colleague, Gordon Welchman, had brought the idea of an Enigma codebreaking machine to fruition with the construction of the Turing-Welchman Bombe, which speeded up the process of breaking into the daily Enigma keys.
In 1952, Turing was convicted of having a sexual relationship with another man, to which he made no defence other than to say he saw nothing wrong in his actions. Turing was sentenced to chemical castration. The conviction robbed him of his security clearance for GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters, a British intelligence agency