Back in 1952, mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing was convicted for gross indecency — the standard criminal charge for homosexuality. After his chemical castration, he killed himself by eating an apple laced with cyanide. Now, over 60 years later, he's set to be pardoned.
It's hard to assess the impact of Alan Turing. Not only did he contribute to the Church-Turing thesis (the suggestion that any real-world computation — including cognition — can be translated into an equivalent computation involving a Turing machine) and the Turing Test, he also played in incalculable role in World War II by cracking the Nazi's Enigma encryption machine.