What crime was Alan Turing convicted of in 1952?
Alan Mathison Turing (1912 – 1954) was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist who was a key player during WW II.
Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer.
Despite these accomplishments, he was not fully recognised during his lifetime, due to his homosexuality, and because much of his work was covered by the Official Secrets Act.
In 1952, Turing was 39 when he started a relationship with 19-year-old Arnold Murray. Homosexual acts were criminal offences in the United Kingdom at that time, and both men were charged with "gross indecency".
Turing was later convinced to enter a plea of guilty. His probation would be conditional on his agreement to undergo hormonal changes designed to reduce libido. He accepted the option of injections of a synthetic estrogen. The treatment rendered Turing impotent and caused breast tissue to form.
Turing's conviction led to the removal of his security clearance and barred him from continuing with his cryptographic consultancy for the British Government.