Skip to comments.Alan Turing: Inquest's suicide verdict 'not supportable'
Posted on 06/23/2012 2:02:56 AM PDT by Olog-hai
Alan Turing, the British mathematical genius and codebreaker born 100 years ago on 23 June, may not have committed suicide, as is widely believed.
At a conference in Oxford on Saturday, Turing expert Professor Jack Copeland will question the evidence that was presented at the 1954 inquest.
He believes the evidence would not today be accepted as sufficient to establish a suicide verdict.
Indeed, he argues, Turing's death may equally probably have been an accident.
What is well known and accepted is that Alan Turing died of cyanide poisoning.
Professor Copeland believes the alternative explanation made at the time by Turing's mother is equally likely.
Turing had cyanide in his house for chemical experiments he conducted in his tiny spare roomthe nightmare room, he had dubbed it.
He had been electrolyzing solutions of the poison, and electroplating spoons with gold, a process that requires potassium cyanide. Although famed for his cerebral powers, Turing had also always shown an experimental bent, and these activities were not unusual for him.
But Turing was careless, Copeland argues.
The electrolysis experiment was wired into the ceiling light socket.
On another occasion, an experiment had resulted in severe electric shocks.
And he was known for tasting chemicals to identify them.
Perhaps he had accidentally put his apple into a puddle of cyanide.
Or perhaps, more likely, he had accidentally inhaled cyanide vapors from the bubbling liquid.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
I remember the excellent play called “Breaking the Code” starring Derek Jacobi. Very moving. Unfortunately, since then I’ve read, that Turing was suspected of being a child molester (at his local library).
Once a person has decided to kill himself, he sometimes appears happier to those around him since he now sees an apparent way out of his problems.