Members of the LGBT community have contributed greatly to the fields of science and technology, but many of their accomplishments go unsung, simply because of their sexual orientation.
October is national LGBT History Month, so I have selected two notable people in the STEM field who were also members of the LGBT community: Alan Turing and Sally Ride.
Alan Turing, a name you may be familiar with thanks to “The Imitation Game,” was a mathematician born in England in 1912.
Turing is notably most famous for his helping to crack coded messages during World War II.
The roots of the modern day computer can also be traced back to Turing and his work.
In 1952, when Turing was just 40, he was arrested and convicted of homosexual activity, which during that time period was illegal.
When given the option between prison or temporary probation, Turing chose the latter, despite the fact that he would also be forced to undergo chemical castration in order to receive the reduced sentence. Just two years later, Turing committed suicide.
In 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown released an official apology in regard to how Turing had been treated by the government.
Four years later, Queen Elizabeth II gave Turning a posthumous pardon.
In 2014, Turing was portrayed in a historical drama by actor Benedict Cumberbatch and had much of his story told on the big screen.
On May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles, California, a future astronaut was born. Sally Ride did not know it at the time, but she would earn her Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University and would become the first American woman in space.
Ride also holds the record for the youngest American astronaut to enter space. At the time of her first voyage, Ride was just 32 years old.
According to the NASA website, Ride first saw an ad in her school newspaper seeking applicants for the astronaut program. Ride decided to apply in 1977 when she was still a student.
After her voyages into space, Ride focused the rest of her career on helping students, especially girls and women, and furthering education about Earth and space.
Ride came up with the idea for EarthKAM, which allowed students to take photos of Earth from space and study them.
In July of 2012, Ride passed away as a result of pancreatic cancer. Ride was just 61.
These are only two of many in the LGBT community who have advanced science and education. For more information about Alan Turing, visit the website and for more information about Ride, visit NASA online.