Alan Turing was a remarkable British hero who helped create the modern world. Now known as the father of computer science, his inventions contributed greatly to the groundwork for the modern computer.
Despite his contributions, Turing did not receive the recognition and plaudits that he deserved while alive. Putting him on the £10 note is a small but important step towards finally redressing that.
Born on June 23rd, 1912, in Maida Vale, Alan Turing grew up in Hastings. He displayed great individuality from a young age. At 14 he went to Sherborne School in Dorset. On discovering that there would be a general strike on his first day he took it upon himself to cycle the 60 or so miles to school on his own.
Turing subsequently read mathematics at Cambridge, later assisting in the development of the innovative Manchester computers.
On 4 September 1939 the day after Britain declared war on Germany, Turing reported to Bletchley Park, the wartime station of the Government Code and Cypher School and forerunner of GCHQ. At Bletchley, Turing led a team whose ingenuity and intellect were turned to the task of breaking German ciphers. One of Turing’s main contributions whilst there was to invent the Bombe, an electromechanical machine used to find the daily settings of the Enigma machine. A fully functional rebuild of the Bombe can be found today at Bletchley Park, along with the excellent Turing exhibition, I encourage you to visit.
Alan Turing was an absolutely vital part of the British war effort and one of the most important people of the 20th century. It is without question that his efforts helped shorten the war significantly, saving the lives of millions of people.
Strange Random Code Quote:
- Amateur Radio at Cheltenham Science Festival (southgatearc.org)
- Alan Turing at Bletchley Park (i-programmer.info)
- Enigma machine used at Cheltenham Science Festival (UK) (bbc.co.uk)
- GCHQ Releases Two Secret Alan Turing Papers (techweekeurope.co.uk)
- Alan Turing name-checks his predecessor Charles Babbage (wired.com)
- Alan Turing and a trig puzzle (johndcook.com)
- Alan Turing Papers On Code Breaking Released By GCHQ (news.slashdot.org)
- How Alan Turing Helped Win WWII and was Thanked with Criminal Prosecution for Being Gay (forbes.com)