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back to article Turing Collection saved for the nation

The Turing Collection - the set of offprints of Alan Turing's work collected by his friend Professor Max Newman - has been saved for the nation after the last minute arrival of money from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Earlier fundraising failed, despite help from Google and private donations, and the collection was put up …

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Pint

A pint for him because...

..I don't think appalling even begins to cover it. At least we've saved the work finally.

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Joke

From Radio 4 this morning

"Papers belonging to Alan Turing are to go on display at Bletchley Park where he worked during the war rather than go abroad."

I don't think that was his primary motivation, was it?

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Chemically Castrated because he was Gay???

Huh? Seriously wtf... A public apology from Gordon Brown? He should go deeper and f*cking name and shame whoever was responsible for this kind of mindset.

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Pint

Yep...

Check your history. It was illegal to be Gay in the UK until (I think) the early-mid 1960's.

I don't deny that the way Turing was treated was appaling, but at the time, that was the law (I believe he had the option - prison or chemical castration), and naming and shaming those responsible just isn't likely to be possible.

To be honest, I find the fashion over the last 10 years or so for our glorious leaders to publicly apologise for the actions of governments past cringeworthy and just as appaling as the actions of said past governments. You have to remember, that was the prevailing mindset and laws at the time, no matter how much we've changed since then.

Still, back onto the original topic of the article, this is fantastic news that his papers have been rescued. I donated to the fund to try and keep them here in the UK. Losing them to another country or deep into some private collection where they'd likely never see the light of day should be completely unconscionable to anyone working in IT in Britain. They're an incredibly important part of the heritage of our entire industry, and tonight I shall be raising a pint to all who helped keep them here, along with another to Mr Turing for his efforts before, during and after the war.

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Bronze badge

Casual homophobia

Seriously wtf indeed. How could we have such attitudes in the present day? And that's why it saddens me to read on another of today's Reg comments pages (http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2011/02/25/apple_under_siege/) a father reporting with glee his son's description of a product as "gay". If he had instead stopped to think, he might have instead had a quiet word with his son to encourage him to use less loaded terms, rather than helping to spread the rot beyond the playground.

BTW, male homosexuality was partially decriminalised (age of consent 21; other restrictions) in 1967 (Scotland not until 1980!). Equality with the heterosexual age of consent of 16 was not reached in England until 2000, after pressure from the European Court of Human Rights.

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Happy

What happens to the papers now?

It would make sense for the papers to be scanned and put online. Considering the nature of Alan Turing work, I think its fair to assume he would have been very interested in the Internet. So it makes a lot of sense to put his papers online, where everyone worldwide, who are interested in the history of computers, can then see and research his work. :)

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Thumb Up

Nice one, muppet tax

The post is required, and must contain letters.

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Turing's contribution*

was almost beyond measure. Without the Bletchley output ( particularly of Luftwaffe signals ) the Adlertag campaign might well now be known as such and not as the Battle of Britain. Just for starters. Every time Axis forces used the wonder military communication medium of the time, Enigma encrypted radio, Turing and his associates at Bletchley put more pieces of the puzzle together. They developed electro-mechanical and electronic systems allowing, finally, almost real-time reading of signals from some Axis arms. Success was almost infinitely improbable when Turing commenced.

Isn't it ironic that a nation with it's back to the wall might have been saved by someone quite happy to, erm, face the wall ? His early death robbed Britain and the world of irreplaceable talent.

p.s. most of the progress made in decryption of enigma signals resulted from sloppy application of security protocol by field operators. plus ca change.

*The earlier brave contribution of Polish officers must be acknowledged.

thumbs up for the Lottery

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Silver badge
Pint

"Alan Turing was a true war hero ..." is what he should be celebrated for

The retro view of lifestyles, viewed from present times, would be laughable except the damage and hurt it did to so many but Turing was in famed company including Leonardo da Vinci, Oscar Wilde, Federico Garcia Lorca, Edward Albee, W.H. Auden, Aristotle, John Maynard Keynes, Christopher Marlowe, Somerset Maugham, Michelangelo, Noel Coward and many other notables.

Better to remember later than not at all. He saved many lives in decoding the Enigma transmissions and undoubtdly shortened the war.

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@GameCoder

I seriously hope you're joking. If not, you *SO* need to do a quick bit of googling about European and American establishment attitudes to being black, gay or female before the 1960s. (For Britain you can add being Irish; for the US you can add being Indian.)

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Heart

England, a Christian nation

The law was there because the bible says it's wrong, it's no coincidence that in the US people have been locked up for having anal sex (even hetrosexual, consensual, within a marrage anal sex), always up for a bit of anti religious diatribe me, but in this case before Turing killed himself he hit upon perhaps some of the most important theories in history, namely how order can become chaos (and vice versa), the very things that allow life as we know it (which counters creationism beautifully).

Turing was never known as a hero in is own time for bringing WW2 to an earlier end, and even now people don't understand his personal contribution, some time in the future people will further realise how important his work with chaos was, just imagine what he would have done if he lived, he's one of the few geniuses who did genuinely original work in his 30's and 40's (unlike Einstein who did almost nothing original after his early life, I'm not knocking Einstein, it's just that Turing was still on his way up, Einstein peaked early).

Look up "The Secret Life of Chaos", you won't regret it.

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Alan Turing was a genius and hero

Turing was a genius, contributed massively to the fields of computing and mathematics, and yet was persecuted terribly for being gay (due to UK law at the time). People under-estimate this man's significance in real terms (because his work was kept secret from the public). He basically saved the UK during WW2 by breaking the ciphers of the German Navy...we would have been foobar'd without him, and probably 'lost the war'. Go figure ...

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