Alan Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) is now celebrated for his crucial contribution to the Allied victory in WW2 and for being the genius mathematician who set the foundations of modern computing. However during his lifetime he was a relatively obscure figure. A victim of the prevalent attitudes toward homosexuality, he was chemically castrated before dying at the age of 41. Jim Al-Khalili is joined by scientists and experts in an evening dedicated to Turing.
Andrew Hodges is the author of the critically-acclaimed, best-selling biography ALAN TURING: THE ENIGMA. In 201?, the biography was adapted for the big screen in the Oscar-winning, Benedict Cumberbatch-starring THE IMITATION GAME. The biography is published in the UK by Vintage, in the US by Princeton University Press, and widely in translation. Here’s the synopsis…
Alan Turing was the mathematician whose cipher-cracking transformed the Second World War. Taken on by British Intelligence in 1938, as a shy young Cambridge don, he combined brilliant logic with a flair for engineering. In 1940 his machines were breaking the Enigma-enciphered messages of Nazi Germany’s air force. He then headed the penetration of the super-secure U-boat communications.
But his vision went far beyond this achievement. Before the war he had invented the concept of the universal machine, and in 1945 he turned this into the first design for a digital computer.
Turing’s far-sighted plans for the digital era forged ahead into a vision for Artificial Intelligence. However, in 1952 his homosexuality rendered him a criminal and he was subjected to humiliating treatment. In 1954, aged 41, Alan Turing took his own life.