Alan Turing

Who is he?

Alan Turing was known for being a mathematician, but he was also a famous computer-scientist, logician, cryptanalyst and theoretical biologist. He was born 23 June 1912 and died 7 June 1954, at the age of 41.


He was born in Maida Vile, London. He showed signs of being intelligent at a young age. He was enrolled in St. Michael's at the age of six, and at age 13, in 1926, he went to Sherborne School. The first day of term was at the time of the 1926 General Strike in Britain, but he was so determined to attend that he rode his bicycle/bike unaccompanied more than 60 miles from Southampton to Sherborne, stopping overnight at an inn!


After school, he worked for the GC&CS (Government Code and Cypher School), during the Second World War. This was at Bletchley Park which is Britain's codebreaking centre. He actually led Hut 8 for a while! He played a key role in cracking intercepted coded messages that helped them defeat the Nazis in important ways, it has also been estimated that this work shortened the war in Europe by, approximately, two to four years.


He also worked at the National Physical Laboratory after the war. This is where he built the ACE (one of the first designs for a stored-program computer). In 1948, Alan Turing joined Max Newman's Computing Laboratory at the University of Manchester, where he became interested in mathematical biology!


But Alan Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts (definition : romantic attraction between members of the same sex/gender) when behaviour like this was still not allowed in the UK. He accepted treatment with DES (chemicals). This meant he did not have to go to prison. Alan Turing unfortunately died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning.Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon in 2013. In 2009, British Prime Minister (Gordon Brown) also made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated".

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