Turing's curse: what judged famous scientists and what became of them

Talented scientists or spies?

Spying became a significant issue for the US government while working

over the Manhattan project. Some of the people who worked on him were declared spies. According to US intelligence, they provided valuable information about the atomic bomb design to the Soviet Union. Many experts believe that it was thanks to espionage that the USSR successfully conducted its first test of atomic weapons on August 29, 1949. Julius Rosenberg is called the key Soviet spy. In 1951, Julius and his wife Ethel were convicted of espionage for providing secret information to the Soviet Union.

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

According to the official version of events, from 1942 to1945 Julius Rosenberg served as a civil engineer in the communications forces in New Jersey. In early 1943, he came out on the Soviet intelligence resident in the United States, Alexander Feklisov. Regular meetings began, during which Rosenberg passed on secret information relating to equipping the American army with the latest weapons models. According to Feklisov, Rosenberg provided him with thousands of documents classified as “Secret” and “Top Secret” and once he brought a non-contact fuse.

Manhattan Project - code name of the US program developmentNuclear weapons, the date of its beginning is considered to be September 17, 1942. Scientists from Great Britain, Germany and Canada also contributed to the project. The project created three atomic bombs: plutonium "Trinity" (exploded during the first nuclear test), uranium "Kid" (dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945) and plutonium "Fat Man" (dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945).

David Greenglass, brother of Ethel Rosenberg, served inspecial engineering detachment of the US Army and was a machinist in Los Alamos. McNatt was an engineer who worked at a design office in New York. By 1944, Julius had recruited him to spy on the Soviets. All of these engineers worked in leading electronic firms and passed on confidential and useful information to the Soviet Union.

Greenglass gave Julius information aboutexplosive lenses being developed at Los Alamos for explosive bombs. Harry Gold, a laboratory assistant and a Soviet spy, relayed this information to the USSR. Gold paid Greenglass $ 500 in exchange for this information. He also worked with Klaus Fuchs, a Los Alamos physicist and a Soviet spy, to convey the secrets of atomic research.

In 1949, the US Army Intelligence Service throughproject Venona discovered that Fuchs was a Soviet spy. In February 1950, he was arrested in the United Kingdom. His arrest began a chain of investigations that ultimately led to the arrest of Julius and Ethel. Fuchs was charged with violating the law on state secrets, and he confessed to spying for the USSR. In the same year, the FBI arrested Greenglass and Gold on the basis of information provided by Fuchs. During interrogation, Greenglass admitted to spying. He also named Julius and Ethel Rosenberg as contacts, but denied that his wife, Ruth Greenglass, was involved in any espionage activities.

On July 17, 1950, the FBI arrested Julius, and throughmonth and Ethel. On March 6, 1951, the Rosenbergs trial began in the Federal Court of the Southern District of New York, which lasted for almost a month. Spouses were charged with conspiracy and the transfer of US atomic secrets to the USSR. They could not be accused of treason, since the United States did not fight the Soviet Union.

During the trial, Ethel and Julius did notresponded to court questions related to espionage, as well as to the question of membership in the Communist Party. In the era of McCarthyism, many believed that the refusal to answer questions actually meant admission of guilt and communist involvement. Ethel and Julius rejected all espionage charges and refused to give any names.

March 29, 1951 the court recognized Julius and EthelRosenberg is guilty of conspiracy. On April 5, Judge Kaufman sentenced them to death. David Greenglass was sentenced to 15 years in prison and was released in 1960. In early 1953, he wrote a letter to President Eisenhower asking for the replacement of the sentences of spouses to prison. This request has been rejected.

There are some conflicting assessments amonghistorians regarding the results of the Rosenberg process. Walter Schneier, in The Final Verdict, claims that the evidence against Ethel was fabricated by Greenglass. After examining the documents, he found out that Rosenberg was dismissed from the army engineering corps in January 1945 and that the KGB reports that his espionage activities ended by 1945, so the meeting that David Greenglass was talking about could never have happened. Schneier is convinced that Ruth, the wife of Greenglass, worked alone and met with a Soviet agent to deliver a sketch of a bomb that was placed in the KGB file center on December 27, 1945. His research is largely based on recently released KGB documents.

Others claim that Julius and Ethel wereguilty, but the woman played a minor role, and the court and sentence were unfair due to lack of evidence. Harvard professor Alan Dershovits said that the Rosenbergs were “guilty but framed”, suggesting that they were spies, but evidence was fabricated against the couple, as a result of which the spouses were subjected to unfair trial and punishment.

Victim of otherness

Alan Turing is considered the greatest cryptologistmathematician and logician of the twentieth century. Working as part of a secret large-scale cryptological operation at Bletchley Park, Alan Turing helped break into the Nazi war machine Enigma. He led the group Hut 8, responsible for the cryptanalysis of communications of the Navy of Germany. Since the car had a lot of rotors that were constantly moving to confuse the allies, the encryption device had quintillies of possible combinations. The German military suggested that no decoder would simply have enough time to break it. Turing's breakthrough was due to the observation of information from the same type of morning communications of an enemy submarine. Turing has developed a number of hacking methods - in fact, a theoretical basis for the Bombe machine, which could in the shortest possible time select millions of cipher options to unravel the final code. This device became the basis for a large-scale computational operation, which ultimately cracked up to two messages per minute.

Bletchley Park, also known as Station X - a mansion located in Bletchley (in the cityMilton Keynes) in the historic and ceremonial county of Buckinghamshire in the center of England. During the Second World War, the main cryptographic unit of Great Britain, the Government School of Codes and Ciphers (GC & CS), located later in Bletchley Park, later became known as the Center for Government Communications (GCHQ). Here, the codes and codes of the Axis countries were cracked, and Operation Ultra was planned, aimed at deciphering Enigma messages.

After the war, Turing worked at the NationalPhysical Laboratory, where, according to his project, the first computer in the world with an in-memory program saved was implemented - ACE. In 1948, the scientist joined the computing laboratory of Max Newman at the University of Manchester, and later became interested in mathematical biology. Alan published a paper on the chemical foundations of morphogenesis and predicted chemical reactions occurring in an oscillatory mode, which were first presented to the scientific community only in 1968. In 1950, Turing created an empirical test for evaluating computer artificial intelligence.

Alan Turing

In 1952, Alan Turing was convictedaccusations of "gross obscenity" in accordance with the "Labusher amendment", according to which homosexual men were persecuted. After the trial, Turing was given the choice between compulsory hormone therapy, designed to suppress libido, and imprisonment. The scientist chose the first.

Laboucher's amendment - the common name of section 11thEnglish Act of 1885 on amendments to criminal law, which expanded the ability of the courts to bring to justice homosexual men.

But the worst was not a trial, sentence orpublicity - Turing actually lost his job overnight. The military refused his services, fearing that Soviet intelligence would catch him in the "blue trap". The scientific community also avoided the genius of mathematics. Alan Turing died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning. Next to him they found a bitten off apple - Turing loved the fairy tale about Snow White.

The investigation found that Turing committedsuicide, although his mother insisted that there was an accident to the end of her life. There were also supporters of the criminal version, who believed that the special services had poisoned Turing. He was recognized as one of the most famous victims of homophobia in the UK. On December 24, 2013, Turing was posthumously pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

77-year-old scientist from the Institute of Roscosmos and Moscow State Technical University teacher Vladimir Ivanovich Lapygin was sentenced to seven years for treason.

The criminal case of treason against Lapygin was initiated in 2015. It was reported that the scientist is suspected of transmitting secret information to one of the Asian countries.

FSUE TsNIImash, where Lapygin has worked for more than 40 years, is the leading institution of Roskosmos. At the time of the indictment, Lapygin was the head of the Scientific and Technical Center for Aerogasdynamics.

According to Lapygin, he was convicted ofthe transfer to the Chinese specialists of the “software package allowing to calculate the optimal aerodynamic characteristics of hypersonic aircraft containing information constituting a state secret”. According to the prosecution, the scientist wanted to get for it $ 90 thousand.

Lapygin believes that the accusation against him was fabricated and does not admit his guilt. The scientist claims that he handed over to the Chinese side only the demo version of the program, acting in the interests of TsNIIMash.

Convicted for citizenship

Ahmad Reza Jalali, ResearcherCenter for Emergency and Disaster Medicine (CRIMEDIN) at the University of Eastern Piedmont in Novara, Italy, and teacher at the Flemish Free University of Brussels, was arrested in April 2016 by Iranian authorities on suspicion of spying for the Israeli special services Mossad. According to Tehran, Jalali was involved in the murder of two Iranians who held responsible posts in the structures of Iran’s nuclear program. They were blown up by bombs laid down in cars. The prosecution insists, in particular, that Jalali, in exchange for money and the opportunity to live in Sweden, gave Mossad important information about Iranian military and nuclear installations to the foreign intelligence services.

The Jalali family told the press that he wasindicted after he refused to obey the instructions of the Iranian intelligence organization to spy on other Iranian scientists abroad. Human rights organizations condemned the arrest of Jalali and said that Iran constantly arrests individuals with dual citizenship.

Ahmad Reza Jalali before arrest and imprisonment

Jalali was sentenced to death October 21, 2017year as a result of the trial, declared illegitimate by the UN, which in December of the same year called on Iran to annul the sentence and release the Iranian scholar.

However, in December 2017 the sentence wasaffirmed by the Supreme Court of Iran, despite international protest. After the verdict was passed, Iranian state television broadcast live an interview with Ahmad, who, at the cameras' point of view, confessed to his espionage activities in favor of a foreign country. In particular, he described how he transmitted information on Iranian nuclear scientists liquidated in 2010 to a foreign intelligence agent. In the telecast, he said that while he was studying in one of the European countries, he was recruited by a man who identified himself as Thomas. He also said that he was promised remuneration and political asylum. Although Jalali did not name the country, Iranian television published photos of the Swedish identity card and footage of the Roman Coliseum.

Jalali also said that before leavingIran, he worked for the Ministry of Defense. And it was precisely this circumstance that apparently aroused the interest of the agents. Most likely, the Israeli Mossad, which, according to the Iranian leadership, decided to get information from him.

During the telecast, the announcer reported that Jalalicollected information about the murdered physicist Masoud Ali Muhammadi and nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari. Jalali met with Mossad agents more than 50 times, receiving 2 thousand euros for the meeting. In 2012, Majid Jamali Pasha was executed for a crime with a similar composition in Iran. The year before, Iranian television broadcast Pasha’s “confession,” saying that it was being prepared at the Mossad secret base near Tel Aviv.

On February 5, 2018, it became known that the Supreme Court of Iran confirmed the death sentence.

Poor connections

Serkan Golge, a NASA scientist, is contained ina Turkish prison, accused of participating in a failed coup attempt in Turkey in the spring of 2016. Serkan worked at NASA on projects related to a manned mission to Mars in the mission control center. In February 2018, a criminal court in the Turkish province of Hatay sentenced a NASA scientist and a US citizen, Serkan Golge, to 7.5 years in prison for material support of Fethulla Gullen's organization. Gullen - Imam from the United States, whom President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused of organizing a failed coup d'état on July 15, 2016.

Serkan Golge

Golge did not admit his guilthis 18-month imprisonment, nor in court. According to his lawyers, not a single evidence of his contacts with Gullen was submitted. The State Department and the US Embassy in Ankara appealed against the verdict and called on the Turkish government to revoke the unfair grounds for criminal prosecution, which resulted in tens and thousands of government officials, including many scientists and teachers, being dismissed.

Golge arrived in the United States from Turkey in 2003, becamea US citizen in 2010. Since 2013, Serkan has worked as a senior scientist at the University of Houston and at the Johnson Space Center at NASA.

In the summer of 2016, the Golge family went to Turkey,to visit relatives. On the last day of their stay in the country Serkana was arrested. In prison, he was denied access to his family by lawyers and US consulate staff. The charges against him were based on the fact of studying at Fatih University in Istanbul (currently closed by Erdogan), allegedly sponsored by Gullen, as well as having an Aysa bank account, popular among supporters of the disgraced imam. The serial number of the dollar bill found in the house at the time of the arrest of Golge was presented to the judge as evidence of his participation in the organization of the coup.

A few court hearings that lasted a year,returned the original charges. In addition to membership in the “terrorist” organization Gullen, Golge was accused of working for the CIA. During interrogations, he was repeatedly asked whether he would agree to spy on Turkey in exchange for his freedom.

After he was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison, American scientists appealed to the Turkish government to reconsider the sentence, but they were never heard.

Racism for scientific purposes

German chemist Germar Rudolf served a sentence2.5 years in prison for inciting racial hatred. A chemical scientist, an employee of the Max Planck Institute, conducted a thorough examination of the Leichter examination. According to Germar, due to construction, technical and chemical reasons, mass poisoning in Auschwitz was impossible. In his work, Rudolph described the Holocaust as a "giant fraud." He also said that he had not found evidence that hundreds of thousands of Jews had ever existed in gas chambers.

Rudolph fled from Germany to the USA in 1995 afterthe court handed him his first suspended sentence of 14 months for inciting anti-Semitic sentiments. When the chemist applied for political asylum in the United States in 2000, he was refused. As a result, Germar was deported in 2005 to serve a 1995 sentence. Rudolph was arrested when he appeared at the Chicago Immigration office to apply for a green card based on his marriage to a US citizen.

In April 2006, he was again accused of “systematically” denying or mulling the Nazi genocide of European Jews in documents and on the Internet, as well as inciting anti-Semitic hatred.

“He presented the Holocaust with fiction,” prosecutor Andreas Grossmann said in his closing remarks.

The same fate befell Dr. Frederick Toben- sociologist and author of scientific materials, a graduate of Oxford College of Exeter. He was born in Germany and lived in Australia. He was sentenced to prison terms in five different countries for his critical views and research on the Holocaust five times.

Toben founded the Adelaide Institute in 1994. This institute was focused on studying issues that the media and scientific organizations are afraid or deliberately do not want to explore. In 1999, in Germany, Toben was convicted of “insulting the memory of the dead” and sentenced to seven months in prison.

In April 2009, Toben was convicted ofcontempt of court for violating the court’s decision not to publish materials that "call into question the death of 6 million Jews, the existence of gas chambers in Auschwitz, and thereby offend the Jewish people."

He later spent 11 months in an Austrian prison.for the same crime - denial of the Holocaust. Police detained him at the Heathrow airport using an EU order issued by the German authorities. After the Austrian dungeons, Frederick served his sentence in Germany.

Dr. Toben on his website after exitingThe German prison wrote the following: “If you decide to try to express your doubts in the Holocaust, you should be ready to sacrifice yourself, to the dissolution of the marriage and serious conflict with your family, to the loss of your career and to the fact that you will be sent to prison”.

Intellect, knowledge and skills that scientistsuse in their work, do not diminish the crime committed by them. But if you look at the examples presented above, most of the arrests were connected specifically with professional activities. High-level specialists suffered because of their political preferences, or simply were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The arrests of the geniuses of the twentieth century already quite accurately influenced the further course of science. What will happen with the similar experience of our years - only time will tell.