Jon Callas via Wikimedia Commons
1954: Alan Turing, the English mathematician who was highly influential in the development of computer science and the fundamentals of modern computers, dies from cyanide poisoning at age 41 in Wilmslow, England. While the official inquest labeled his death a suicide, others believed it was accidental. During World War II, Turing worked for Britain's codebreaking center, devising a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers. He also developed the ACE, among the first designs for a stored-program computer, and the Turing machine, a hypothetical device that can be considered a model of a general purpose computer. Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952, when such acts were still criminalized in the UK, and underwent chemical castration as an alternative to prison. In 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the government for Turing's treatment and Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon in 2013.