Hawking calls for pardon for gay code-breaker Alan Turing


Stephen Hawking and other eminent scientists are calling on the British government to pardon computer pioneer Alan Turing, who helped win World War II but was later prosecuted for homosexuality.

In a letter published on Dec. 14 in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Hawking and 10 others urge Prime Minister David Cameron “formally to forgive the iconic British hero.”

Turing worked at Bletchley Park, the wartime code-breaking center, where he helped crack Nazi Germany’s secret codes by creating the “Turing bombe,” a forerunner of modern computers.

After the war, Turing was prosecuted for having sex with a man, stripped of his security clearance and forcibly treated with female hormones. He killed himself in 1954 at age 41 by eating an apple laced with cyanide.

Turing received a posthumous government apology in 2009.