History's HEROES? 1912 - 1954

Alan Turing

Should Alan Turing be considered a hero?


Arguments for
  • He was tenacious: he would not turn away from the job he had to do.
    His determination to break the German codes, led him to working very long hours. He would not let up until the problem was solved. This probably shortened the war by as much as 2 years.
  • He was an inspirational visionary.
    His ideas about the potential of computing were years ahead of his contemporaries and of what was possible at the time. His ideas inspired a whole generation of computer scientists and made our modern computing possible.
  • Alan was ambitious for the furtherance of knowledge for the general good.
    His ambition was to advance knowledge, knowledge which could be used for the improvement of understanding and the development of technology to take the world forward.
  • He was brave and patriotic.
    Alan could have stayed safely in America, studying Mathematics at Princeton, but chose instead to return to Britain in 1938, wanting to play his part in the impending war effort. He subsequently went to America to share knowledge with their crypotologists, travelling at a time when the Battle of the Atlantic was at its most dangerous.
Arguments against
  • He was always in a safe environment.
    Alan Turing, broke codes and cyphers, from the safety of Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. He did not have to risk his life and was in very little physical danger.

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