Last week, Andrew Hodges gave the Strachey Lecture at the University of Oxford, about Alan Turing’s ‘work and ideas from the definition of computability, the universal machine to the prospect of Artificial Intelligence‘. Below you can find a video of the event…
Andrew Hodges is the author of the best-selling ALAN TURING: THE ENIGMA, which is published in the UK by Vintage and in the US by Princeton University Press — it has also been published widely in translation. The biography was adapted into the Oscar-winning movie THE IMITATION GAME, in 2014. 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.
Here is just a small sample from the many glowing reviews the book has received…
‘A first-rate presentation of the life of a first-rate scientific mind… it is hard to imagine a more thoughtful and warm biography than this one.’ — New York Times Book Review
‘One of the finest scientific biographies I’ve ever read: authoritative, superbly researched, deeply sympathetic and beautifully told.’ — Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind
‘Andrew Hodge’s book is of exemplary scholarship and sympathy. Intimate, perceptive and insightful, it’s also the most readable biography I’ve picked up in some time.’ — Time Out
‘One of the finest scientific biographies ever written.’ — New Yorker
‘This rather shadowy figure has now finally been lifted into the light of day… it has to be said that Andrew Hodges has put together an extraordinary story.’ — Sunday Telegraph
‘Hodges’s biography is sensitive, sympathetic and uncompromisingly intellectual. The maths is extremely hard work – but helps the lay reader to appreciate the scale of Turing’s achievements.’ — Brandon Robsaw, Independent on Sunday
‘Life and work are both made enthralling by Hodges, himself a scientist.’ — Sunday Times
‘Andrew Hodges, in this fine biography… brings Turing the thinker and Turing the man alive for the reader and thus allows us all to share in the privilege of knowing him.’ — Financial Times