Alan Turing's 100th Birthday
Codebreaker extraordinaire and computer genius Alan Turing would have been 100 years old today and internet giant Google honor the scientist and mathematician with a special doodle / header on this the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Such a visible tribute should only expected as Turing is a hero to so many Google engineers, who are only too pleased to help commemorate and preserve his legacy. Indeed last year Google helped Bletchley Park raise funds in order to purchase most of Turing's papers so they could be preserved for public display in the museum.
Alan Turing was born into a world during a very different time, both culturally and technologically. His story is one of some astonishing highs and demoralizing, damaging lows. His is a story of a mathematical genius whose skills and insights helped save thousands of lives during the war and yet ultimately the one life he was unable to save was his own.
Turing is now widely recognized as a true genius in the realms of code breaking, information technology and is seen by many as the father of modern computing. Indeed, his formalization of the concepts of “algorithm” and “computation” with the Turing machine, played a key leading role in computer concepts and development that have rightly given birth to the machines we are all now using.
Alan M Turing committed suicide a couple of weeks before his birthday in 1954 by cyanide poisoning, however leading Turing expert, Professor Jack Copeland argues that Turing’s death may have been nothing more than a tragic accident. In a conference at Oxford on Saturday he re-examines the original 1954 inquest and comes to some very different conclusions and he’s quite sure that had the inquest taken place today there would be insufficient evidence to establish a suicide verdict.
Turing’s housekeeper found the 41-year-old mathematician dead in his bed, a half-eaten apple lay on his bedside table. It has widely been believed that Turing had long been troubled, perhaps even haunted by the story of the poisoned apple in the fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. So much so that he resorted to the same desperate measure to end the misery of persecution he’d endured because of his homosexuality, which was still illegal in England at the time.Continued on the next page