Alan Turing, the gifted British mathematician considered the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, is finally receiving long overdue international attention for his contributions to our modern world.

During World War II, Turing was instrumental in cracking German ciphers — including the infamous Enigma machine. He later went on to work in the emerging field of computer science, laying the foundation for some of the first machines and also introducing the very early concepts of artificial intelligence.

Unfortunately, Turing also lived during an age of intolerance and, after admitting to having a sexual relationship with another man, he was charged with "gross indecency." He lost his security clearance and was forced to take hormone injections that made him impotent and caused his breasts to grow. In 1954, at the age of 41, Turing was found dead from an apparent suicide by his cleaning lady.

Now, more than 61 years later, Turing's story is receiving due attention. On Christmas Eve, a posthumous royal pardon from Queen Elizabeth — only the fourth ever given during her reign — became official. In late 2014, "The Imitation Game," starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing, will further shed light on his incredible story. A synopsis:

"The pioneer of modern-day computing, Turing is credited with cracking the German Enigma code and the film is a nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. Turing, whose contributions and genius significantly shortened the war, saving thousands of lives, was the eventual victim of an unenlightened British Establishment, but his work and legacy live on."
You can see the full first image from the film, released to coincide with the queen's pardon on Christmas Eve, below. In in, Turing (Cumberbatch) is likely standing in front one of his "bombe" code-breaking machines.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in Imitation Game movie

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Benedict Cumberbatch is code-breaker Alan Turing as first 'Imitation Game' photo released
British mathematician, widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, recently received a royal pardon.