History's HEROES? 1912 - 1954

Alan Turing

Who was he?



Things you may not know about Alan Turing

Alan Turing's determination showed itself at an early age. More
Alan has a long-distance run named after him. More
He was a very gifted athlete. More
Alan Turing has a number of roads and buildings named after him. More
Alan Turing was voted one of the 100 Greatest Britons. More
He was a man ahead of his time. More
Alan Turing was involved in the early development of Artificial Intelligence. More
Alan is said to have taught himself to read in three weeks. More

Alan Turing in brief

This man was a national treasure and we hounded him to his death... I'm looking for an apology from the British government because that's where I think the wrong was done. But Turing is clearly someone of international stature. – John Graham-Cumming, computer scientist

Alan Turing is often called the father of modern computing. He was a brilliant mathematician and logician. He developed the idea of the modern computer and artificial intelligence. During the Second World War he worked for the government breaking the enemies codes and Churchill said he shortened the war by two years.

Born in London in 1912, Alan Turing attended Sherborne School in Dorset and then, later, King's College Cambridge and Princeton University in the USA. 

At the outbreak of World War Two, Alan joined the Government Codes and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. He worked on breaking the code for the German Enigma machine, a device for sending coded messages to units of the German forces. Alan developed a machine (the Bombe) which helped break the code. He also went on to break the Naval Enigma, an even more complicated machine. His wartime services helped to win the war, but his work was so secret that very few people were aware of the importance of what he had done at Bletchley Park.

Alan Turing went on to become deputy director of the computing lab at Manchester University.

He sadly died too young, in tragic circumstances, a victim of the discriminatory laws of the day. It is often wondered how much further ahead computing would be, if he had lived.

Picture Gallery Alan Turing

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