Imagine for a second that there exists a hero, a man who has served his country in its darkest hour, who has made great scientific breakthroughs, who may have saved as many as 14 million lives How would you reward this man? Would you give him riches, awards, accolades? Or would you hound him from your institutions, destroy his relationships, before finally driving him to commit suicide? In 1954, the British government made the latter choice The hero’s name? Alan Turing His crime? Refusing to live in the closet A mathematical prodigy, Alan Turing escaped a troubled childhood to become perhaps Britain’s greatest mathematician The father of modern computing, he pioneered concepts of artificial intelligence and cryptography, and saved millions of lives as a codebreaker in WWII He also dared to be openly gay at a time when loving another man could see you not just jailed but destroyed by the establishment Join us today as we journey through the inspiring life and tragic death of the mathematician who took on the Nazis… and won To Have Loved and Lost… It’s said the first person we fall in love with influences us for the rest of our lives Perhaps that’s never been more true than in the case of Alan Turing When the teenage Turing met Christopher Morcom in 1928, it was the start of a relationship that would drive Turing to do his greatest work So it’s remarkable how close this meeting came to never happening There are near infinite universes out there where the father of computing never met the muse who would inspire him The first branching of the multiverse came in 1912, when Ethel Stoning discovered she was pregnant with Julius Turing’s second child At the time, Julius Turing was a functionary in the Indian Civil Service, and there was no reason to believe the new baby would grow up anywhere but amid the heat and humidity of the Indian plains But this was 1912 Serious unrest was starting to break out against the British Raj, and Julius decided his child would be safer growing up in Britain And so it was that, on June 23, 1912, Alan Mathison Turing was born not in Andhra Pradesh, but in London Still, India would powerfully affect young Alan’s life Although Julius wanted his children raised in Britain, his job required him and Ethel to live in India So, in 1913, they went back, leaving Alan and his brother John in the charge of Colonel Ward To compare Ward to the Drill Sargent in Full Metal Jacket would be an understatement Ward was a true military man He liked boys who stood to attention, not sissies like young Alan who preferred reading to rugger As a result, Alan’s early years were spent constantly being bellowed at, until Ethel finally returned to England and decided Alan would fare better at boarding school It’s here that we get to our second great branch in the multiverse In 1925, aged 13, Alan arrived at the prestigious Sherborne boarding school in Dorset By now, the boy was a veritable math prodigy Unfortunately, Sherborne was a school that prided itself on Latin and Bible Studies, stuff Alan sucked at He sucked so bad that the school actually opted to expel him It was only after some serious begging from Ethel that Alan was allowed to stay That decision would prove important when, in 1928, Alan finally met Christopher Christopher Morcom was an attractive lad with a cheeky grin in the year above at Sherborne He was also a serious math enthusiast The moment Alan first saw Christopher, it was like time had stopped He took to following the older boy around, always sitting next to him in class At first, his behavior seems to have amused Christopher But, as the weeks passed, he and Alan began spending time together, debating geometry and conducting science experiments Before long, they were inseparable It wasn’t exactly a romance Alan would write in later letters that Christopher was probably aware of his young friend’s romantic feelings, but had no desire to act on them Yep, it’s the classic story of young gay man falls for his straight best friend But it didn’t matter Alan never became bitter about his unrequited love He was happy just being in the same room as Christopher As 1928 became 1929, and then 1930, the bond between Alan and Christopher only deepened Alan’s grades even improved, and the danger of expulsion drifted away And then came February 7, 1930, and this idyllic life was shattered into a million jagged pieces That day, the tuberculosis that had afflicted Christopher since childhood went into overdrive He collapsed It’s said the moment he heard the news, Alan had a premonition of his love’s death On February 13, 1930, Christopher Morcom died, not yet aged 18 In assembly, the headmaster gave a heartfelt speech to mark his passing But for Alan, what use were mere words? He’d lost the one person in the world who mattered to him, the one beautiful thing in

his life From that day on, Alan Turing would never be the same again The Nature of the Spirit As 1930 first dawned on the rolling hills of Dorset, Alan Turing had been an aimless student and a committed Christian By the time that fateful year retreated over the horizon, he was neither of those things Christopher’s death hit Turing like a haymaker to the stomach He cut himself off from his religion, began trying to scientifically prove the existence of ghosts – anything to give him hope that his one love hadn’t been erased from existence “I worshipped the ground he trod on,” Turing wrote to Christopher’s mother It was no exaggeration For the rest of his life, Turing would always remember the first boy he fell for But life goes on In 1931, Turing left Sherborne and enrolled at Kings College, Cambridge, where he studied math and dabbled in anti-war politics Yet even here, the ghost of Christopher was never far away In 1932, Turing wrote Nature of the Spirit, a hopeful essay that attempted to use the brand new field of quantum mechanics to suggest our spirits might live on in eternity Turing was clearly still in the denial stage of tragedy But his flirtation with the otherworldly wouldn’t go to waste The papers Turing studied during this period would directly influence his later work The next few years passed in numbed heartbreak At Cambridge, Turing had his first sexual encounters with other boys He earned a first in mathematics Aged 22, in 1935, he was even made a fellow Finally, that same year, the broken young man discovered a reason to keep on living In 1935, Turing began working on a famous math problem, using some of the ideas he’d cultivated while researching Nature of the Spirit One year later, in 1936, he finished his masterpiece On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem Don’t let the name put you off You’re still living with the insights of this paper today The actual point of Turing’s paper is beyond our scope But part of it revolved around a thought experiment using something called a “Turing Machine.” To create this thought experiment, Turing proved how you could take the then-human process of computing numbers, and create a machine capable of doing the same That’s right: as a byproduct of solving a math problem, Turing invented the basis for modern digital computers This was a truly dazzling leap of mathematical logic, a real once-in-a-lifetime achievement It was also thought to be hopelessly hypothetical, something that was theoretically sound, but nothing that any modern human could ever hope to build Nonetheless, Turing moved from Cambridge to Princeton, New Jersey in September, 1936, to keep working on his concept While he was in the USA, he happened to catch an animated film at the cinema Friends later said the mathematician was completely bowled over by Disney’s Snow White, particularly the scene where the Wicked Queen makes an apple deadly by dipping it in a cauldron while whispering “Dip the apple in the brew Let the Sleeping Death seep through.” That, my friends, is what we call foreshadowing In 1938, Turing finally returned to the UK, where he picked up a job with GCCS, the pre-WWII British signals interception and code cracking branch He was originally only going to stay there a year In fact, in summer, 1939 Turing was offered a teaching job at a University But, as you’ll already know, summer, 1939 was when the fate of Europe changed forever And Turing was now only weeks away from his meeting with destiny The Enigma It’s time for us to wind the clock back a little bit on our story, all the way to 1918 (NOTE TO EDITORS: Some rewind footage might be cool here?) OK, so, 1918 At this point, young Alan Turing is still dealing with parents who vanish to India at the drop of a hat, and has never even heard of Sherborne or Christopher Morcom But it’s not Alan Turing we’ve time traveled here to take a look at It’s an anonymous-looking German man named Arthur Scherbius In February, 1918, as the First World War still raged, Scherbius had quietly filed a patent for a new cipher machine Looking like a typewriter, the machine randomly scrambled messages as you input them, producing gibberish that only someone with their own copy of both the machine and the cipher key could possibly decode Scherbius named his machine the Enigma In two short decades, it would be infamous Scherbius originally wanted his Enigma on the commercial market, but it wasn’t long before the military came calling In 1926, while Turing was close to getting his ass expelled from Sherborne, the German Weimar army purchased the Enigma plans and started developing their own, even harder to crack version This was worrying to Germany’s neighbors, for obvious reasons In 1930, the year Christopher died, Polish intelligence began secretly trying to collect information on the new cipher machine In 1933, they got their break A drunk playboy in the German Cipher Office named Hans Thilo Schmidt sold information on Enigma to the French secret service

They passed it onto the Poles and, under the direction of mathematician Marian Rejwski, Polish intelligence was able to construct its own Enigma device: the Bomba The Bomba wasn’t perfect It could decipher a lot of Enigma traffic, but it relied on the Germans not updating their methods When 1938 ended with Hitler annexing Austria and the Czech Sudetenland, the Poles began to worry that maybe they needed to show some other nations their stolen device In summer, 1939, Polish intelligence finally passed on replica Enigmas to both France and Britain It was a decision they made just in time On September 1, 1939, Panzer tanks rolled into Poland By the time a month had passed, the entire Polish state had been conquered by Germany and Russia, and Britain and France had declared war Back in our main narrative, Alan Turing responded to the outbreak of war by reporting to Bletchley Park, the hub of all British codebreaking efforts There, already waiting for the young math whizz, was the Poles’ last gift before they were conquered: the replica Enigma Turing would use to save millions Cracking the Code At this point you might be feeling a little confused If Bletchley Park already had a replica Enigma machine, why did they need Turing? The problem was that Enigma’s ciphers were constantly changing The Polish machine could intercept its traffic, but without that day’s cipher, it was semi-useless What Bletchley Park needed was a device that could crack the Enigma code no matter the cipher, and do it fast This is where Turing’s strange genius came in Now, you may have seen the Benedict Cumberbatch film about Turing’s life, The Imitation Game, and have a vision of Alan Turing as a borderline Asperger’s loner obsessed with math at the expense of all else But the real Turing wasn’t like that Well, maybe a little It’s certainly true he used to chain his mug to the radiator so no-one else could drink out of it, and would wear a gasmask in summer to keep his hay fever at bay But he was also a fan of socializing who liked to go out drinking and dancing with his colleagues So, while Turing certainly was a spooky math genius while at Bletchley park, please don’t picture him as a 1940’s Sheldon Cooper The early work on Enigma was heavy going Although Turing helped build a machine known as the Bombe, with an “e”, to help decipher intercepted messages, many of them only came through as gibberish, or would turn out to be nursery rhymes the Germans had sent as tests As 1940 got underway, Turing was reassigned to Hut 8, where he led a team tasked with decoding German Naval transmissions This was important for two reasons The first was that, as an island, Britain had to import its food to survive Great when you’ve got a friendly continent on your doorstep, less great when German U-Boats are sinking all maritime traffic to the UK The second important reason is that it was in Hut 8 that Turing first met Joan Clarke If Christopher was the great love of Turing’s life, Joan was the great friendship A mathematical genius, Joan had volunteered her talents at Bletchley Park, only to be

told women can’t do math and she would have to take a job as a secretary Within days, though, it had become clear even to the knuckle-dragging Neanderthals running the place that Joan’s brain was the sort of brain they were desperately looking for, and she was promoted to Hut 8 But, as this was the 1940s, Joan was still paid a fraction of what her male colleagues earned Still, she and Turing really hit it off They went to the cinema together, went out dancing As bombs rained down on southern England, the two mathematicians’ friendship began to blossom, until, in early 1941, Turing did something unexpected He proposed to Joan Since you’ve watched this far and heard all about Christopher, you’re probably wondering why a gay man like Turing might propose to a straight woman like Joan Joan kind of wondered it, too She knew Turing was gay, but she still said yes It took a disastrous “romantic” vacation for them to face reality and call the whole thing off Still, Joan and Turing remained firm friends Better still, they remained excellent coworkers in Hut 8 And Hut 8 in 1941 was the nerve center for the British fightback against Hitler That summer, Turing and his colleagues developed a technique known as Banburismus which broke the Naval Enigma codes wide open Suddenly, the British knew exactly where the U-Boats were Ships could be re-routed Supply lines kept open Lives saved Looking back, it’s difficult to picture just how close Britain came to starvation in 1941 We see the course of WWII today like a narrative that can’t be changed, with plucky Britain standing alone, always destined to triumph But, just as there are other universes where Turing never met Christopher, there are universes where Hut 8 never managed to crack those Naval codes, and Britain starved in a brutal siege That fall, 1941, buoyed by their success, the team at Hut 8 wrote to Winston Churchill, asking for more funds They only asked for a little, thinking the great man could have never possibly heard of their small team doing its own thing So imagine their surprise when Churchill wrote back on October 21, saying Hut 8 would now have access to any amount of resources they needed with utmost urgency Even the Prime Minister knew Turing and his team were the ones who were going to save Britain Days of Victory By early 1942, Bletchley Park analysts were decoding, on average, one German message every two minutes, or around 84,000 a month Yet, even as they saved millions of lives and helped decisively turn the war, the team were forbidden from telling anyone about their achievements As a result, many suspected the Hut 8 team of refusing to help the war effort Turing’s landlady actually accused him of malingering and called his refusal to enlist a disgrace! Among people in the know, though, Turing’s reputation was soaring In December, 1942, he was cleared for travel to the USA and given a top secret security clearance to help American codebreakers But, by March 1943, he’d been recalled to Bletchley Park as just too invaluable to be away in America As 1943 became 1944, the tide of the war began to turn In summer, 1944, D-Day dislodged the Germans from their once unassailable position in France What followed was a slow-motion collapse of the Third Reich that killed more people than perhaps any other war in history With his work wrapping up, Turing began making plans for his post-war career He decided he might build a “universal computer” Around this time, he also seems to have decided to start living mostly out of the closet Turing was a hero now, a man whose work had saved Britain from starvation Who could possibly object to a war hero who just happened to love other men? Finally, in August 1945, nearly three months after the collapse of Nazi Germany, Japan formally surrendered to the Allies The Second World War was over For Turing, this meant an OBE, one of Britain’s highest honors It also meant being told to never, ever reveal what he’d done at Bletchley Park Not that Turing cared He was a hot property now, a genius everyone was clamoring for In 1946, the National Physical Laboratory commissioned him to build the first modern computer: the ACE Had it been finished, it would have been the most powerful early computer by far Sadly, though, the NPL balked at the cost and decided to build a smaller version known as the Pilot ACE While the Pilot ACE was a milestone in computing, it was overshadowed by the Royal Society Computing Machine Laboratory at Manchester’s own effort: the first working electronic stored digital computer In 1948, Turing quit the NPL and moved to Manchester to join them It was around this time that Julius Turing finally died Turing’s father had quit the Indian Civil Service many years before, but had mostly lived abroad for tax reasons When he died, it was discovered he’d rewritten his will to leave far more money to Turing than to his brother John Like the gentleman he was, Turing disregarded his father’s wishes, and the two brothers shared their inheritance equally The 1950s dawned on a flurry of activity for Alan Turing In 1948, the mathematician nearly competed at the London Olympics, making the shortlist for the marathon event In 1950, he created the famous Turing Test, for determining if a machine has human-level

intelligence Finally, in 1951, he began working on the creation of artificial life, one of the very first people to do so All in all, things were going pretty well for Turing now He was respected in his profession, mildly famous as a mathematician, and living as close to openly gay as was possible in the 1950s You no doubt recall that we started this video by describing Turing’s life as tragic Well, buckle up, because it’s time for this innocent man to be brutally destroyed “A Crime was Committed…” In the weeks before Christmas, 1951, Alan Turing was out shopping in Manchester when he happened to lock eyes with Arnold Murray A young man of around 19, Murray was a good looking, working class lad That same day, Turing took him to lunch and charmed him A week later, Murray stayed the night at Turing’s house Soon, the pair were seeing each other regularly It was during one of these romantic weekends that Murray started complaining he was always short of cash Turing offered the boy some money, but Murray refused The next morning, Turing discovered money missing from his wallet Although he confronted Murray, the boy claimed he was innocent, and the two reconciled And that was the pattern for the next few weeks, Turing’s money disappearing, and Murray refusing to admit his guilt It’s likely the well-paid Turing could have lived with this odd arrangement, were it not for what happened next On January 23, 1952, Turing returned home to find his house had been burgled Deciding Murray had gone too far this time, he called the police A week or so later, on February 2, 1952, Murray unexpectedly turned up on Turing’s doorstep, screaming that he was innocent He claimed a friend of his named “Harry” had been the burglar, and that he’d targeted Turing after Murray admitted the pair were in a gay relationship Perhaps wanting to believe his lover, Turing reported this new information to the police Not long after, cops arrived at Turing’s house Turing asked if this was about Harry It was, but not in the way he thought Unknown to Turing, the police had already arrested Harry When Harry told them Turing was in a sexual relationship with Murray, the police decided Harry wasn’t the real criminal here The real criminal was Alan Turing That same day, Turing was arrested on a charge of “gross indecency” for having sex with another man Murray was arrested alongside him In late February, 1952, the pair attended a preliminary hearing together Turing was bailed Murray went to jail As a war hero used to moving in academic circles, it’s likely Turing never realized anyone would care that he was gay But the law said otherwise In the 1950s, it was routine for police to spy on and entrap gay men You could have saved Britain from starvation in WWII, you could have helped defeat the Nazis but, if you weren’t 100% straight, then you were worse than a common burglar In March, 1952, Turing pled guilty to one count of gross indecency The court originally planned to jail him, but his lawyers convincingly argued that Turing’s work was of national importance In the end, Turing was offered a choice One year in prison, or chemical castration He chose the chemical castration A course of female hormones released into his body via an implant in the thigh, chemical castration was designed to destroy your libido and leave you impotent It also had horrific side effects An increased risk of cancer was one Extreme depression another When the news broke of Turing’s conviction, he had his security clearance revoked His clearance for traveling abroad likewise went in the trash The years of Turing the genius were over In the eyes of the British establishment, he was now nothing but a monster “Let the Sleeping Death seep through.” It was a cold, wet Monday morning when Alan Turing’s housekeeper let herself into his home on June 8, 1954 It was now over two years since the mathematician’s trial and conviction for homosexuality, and Turing’s life was in tatters Turing’s public outing had caused a rift with his family Turing thought his brother John was trying to hide the fact he had a homosexual sibling; and his mother’s reaction to Turing’s sexuality had been cold and dismissive At the same time, the course of hormone treatment had wreaked havoc on his brain and body While under treatment, Turing had had a small number of sex dreams that convinced him he was turning straight He wrote to a friend: “I have had a dream indicating rather clearly that I am on the way to being hetero, though I don’t accept it with much enthusiasm.” Still, by 1954, the worst was generally thought to be behind him In April, 1953, the implant had been removed from Turing’s thigh, ending his hormone course A month later, he’d picked up a new job at the cutting edge of computing There had even been a sort of reconciliation with his mother While their relationship never fully recovered, it had come back from the lows of the trial As the housekeeper crept through the house that rainy morning in 1954, she had no reason to suspect that today would be in any way unusual The only sign she might have noticed was the faint whiff of bitter almonds on the air Upstairs, the door to Turing’s lab was open He’d had it installed some years before, and spent his spare time experimenting with different chemicals But the housekeeper hardly noticed She was too busy staring at what lay on the bed His eyes closed, Alan Turing lay dead on the bedsheets, a half-eaten apple beside him

The coroner’s report would later claim that he had laced the apple with cyanide and bitten into it, committing suicide in a ghoulish homage to Snow White Today, it’s generally thought to be an unresolved question whether Turing killed himself, or accidentally poisoned the apple with cyanide gas while working in his lab However, a recent exhibition at London’s prestigious Science Museum published the original coroner’s report for the first time in full It noted that there was so much cyanide in Turing’s stomach that accidental ingestion was effectively impossible The apple, the coroner reasoned, was a last meal A final treat to take away the bitter almond taste of cyanide On June 12, 1954, Alan Turing was cremated at Woking cemetery Despite his heroic wartime record, despite his pioneering scientific work, the press barely marked his passing He was just another dead pervert, what did anyone care? Thirteen years after Alan Turing died, in 1967, the British government finally decriminalized homosexuality in England and Wales 42 years later, in 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a formal apology to him Finally, on Christmas Eve, 2013, the Queen posthumously pardoned Alan Turing This led to the creation of Turing’s Law, which came into effect on January 31, 2017, and posthumously pardoned the thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted for their sexual orientation in Britain It was a hard fight A cadre of Conservative MPs tried to filibuster the bill, falsely claiming it would pardon convicted pedophiles Even in the 21st century, the prejudice which destroyed Alan Turing hasn’t completely faded Today, it’s estimated that Turing’s work on Enigma may have shortened the war by two years, saving millions of lives in the process His work on computing, artificial intelligence, artificial life, and many other fields is considered to have been pioneering Without this one, remarkable man who met such a tragic end, you and I would be living in a very

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