Born in London one hundred years ago today, mathematician Alan Turing was considered a hero by many for his success in cracking German codes during World War II. But Turing’s end was tragic. He was convicted of gross indecency for his homosexuality and was prohibited from continuing his government cryptography work. He died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning, ruled by an inquest as suicide.
Although most famous for his wartime efforts, Turing was much more than a codebreaker. His work on the nature of computing laid the groundwork for the fledgling discipline of computer science, which exploded in the decades following his death. Furthermore, his examination of whether or not machines could “think” made him a major figure in the field of artificial intelligence.
Learn more about Turing’s legacy with the timeline below: