Turing, Alan

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Portrait of Alan Turing (click to view image source)
Alan Turing
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Name
Turing, Alan Gender: M
Alan Mathison Turing
born on 23 June 1912 at 02:15 (= 02:15 AM )
Place London, England, 51n30, 0w10
Timezone GMT h0e (is standard time)
Data source
From memory
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif 01°14' s_mo.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 16°35 Asc.s_gemcol.18.gif 05°40'



Biography

British mathematician, logician, scientist and the technical genius behind Britain’s successful efforts to break German codes in World War II, Turing made inestimable contributions to cybernetics. His "Computable Numbers," 1937, is considered one of the outstanding scientific papers of the 20th century, a blueprint for what would become the electronic digital computer. His "Universal Turing Machine" was an ancestor for the entire information age.

Turing was the second-born of two sons to a member of the British civil service in India. His mother didn’t feel that was a suitable environment, and so the boys were both raised in foster households in England, separated from their parents. At 13, he enrolled at the Sherbourne School in Dorset where he showed a gift for mathematics. While at Sherbourne, Turing, who recognized his homosexuality, fell in love with another boy at the school who suddenly died of tuberculosis. The event drove him into atheism and the conviction that phenomena must all have materialistic explanations.

He failed twice to win a fellowship at the University of Cambridge’s Trinity College, but did receive one from King’s College in Cambridge. There he found a good environment in which to thrive. He was invited to remain at King’s as a tutor when he obtained his degree.

World War II intervened, and based on his published work, he was recruited to serve in the Government Code and Cypher School. The task there was to break the Nazis’ Enigma codes. It is now known that Turing played a crucial role in the effort by inventing a primitive machine that could decipher at high speed Nazi codes to ships in the North Atlantic.

At the end of the war, Turing hoped to pick up the academic career he had started, but the mathematics division of the British National Physical Laboratory asked him to create an actual Turing machine. He accepted, but found himself mired in bureaucracy, missing the wartime state of urgency that quickly bypassed obstacles. Turing left the NPL and accepted an offer from the University of Manchester where another computer was being built similar to the one he had suggested in 1937.

Though he envisioned a time when "ladies will take their computers for walks in the park," his own reality was not quite so whimsical. When a robbery occurred at his house in Manchester, he frankly told the police that the robber probably knew the man with whom he was having an affair. As homosexual relations were still a felony in Britain, Turing was tried and convicted of gross indecency in 1952. He was arrested and tried for sodomy with a 19-year-old man. He was spared prison but was given a year probation with the condition that he take estrogen to diminish his sex drive. He was subjected to injections of female hormones intended to "curb his lust."

Two years later, on the evening of 7 June 1954, Turing committed suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide. Turing's mother argued strenuously that the ingestion was accidental, caused by her son's careless storage of laboratory chemicals. Biographer Andrew Hodges suggests that Turing may have killed himself in an ambiguous way quite deliberately, to give his mother some plausible deniability.

Link to Wikipedia biography

Events

  • Social : Institutionalized - prison, hospital 1952 (Given a year prison for sodomy charges)

Source Notes

Charles Harvey quotes Turing's mom in AJ Spring/1968

Categories

  • Traits : Mind : Exceptional mind (Brilliant contributer)
  • Family : Childhood : Order of birth (Second of two boys)
  • Passions : Sexuality : Homosexual male
  • Passions : Sexuality : Sodomy
  • Passions : Criminal Perpetrator : Prison sentence (Given a year, sodomy charges)
  • Personal : Death : Suicide (Apple soaked in cyanide)
  • Vocation : Computer : Hardware engineer (Invented decoding machine)
  • Vocation : Science : Mathematics/ Statistics
  • Notable : Extraordinary Talents : For Numbers

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