This music makes my skin tingle with pleasure and I think I've got something in my eye.
The comments on You Tube really say it all but please add your opinion here!
|In the very early days!|
|In the very early days!|
He was an English mathematician, cryptanalyst and war-time codebreaker who had studied at Princeton in the US from 1936 to 1938. During the Second World War when Britain was standing alone against the Axis Powers and near to starvation because German U-boats were destroying Atlantic convoys bringing food to the United Kingdom. Churchill was, secretly, extremely worried. The Germans had invented the Enigma Machine which was a very advanced encoding device through which the submarines received their daily information. Realising that breaking the code was absolutely essential Turing, already known as a brilliant young mathematician, was put in charge of the top-secret 'Hut 8' at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. Thanks to his brilliant efforts the secrets of Enigma were discovered with an almost instant beneficial effect on the safety of Atlantic shipping. What went on at Bletchley Park remained highly secret until long after the end of the war. In fact one of the worlds first electronic computers which used thousands of thermionic valves (tubes) was smashed to pieces after the war. The government presumably must have thought it was too dangerous to be kept going. After all, what possible use could there be for computers in peacetime?
This leads to Turing's other great claim to fame; he is generally recognised as the actual inventor of the electronic computer. Although this may be arguable, he did invent the concepts of a processor and of memory storage using binary code. He never received any public recognition of his heroic actions.
Are you wondering, dear reader, why this might be?
Alan Turing was gay at a time when homosexual practices were criminal in the UK and he had been charged with indecency two years before his death. He died of cyanide poisoning and a half eaten apple was found at his bed-side but it was never tested for poison. This has led to various conspiracy theories. His distraught mother strenuously denied that he had committed suicide and it has been postulated that the manner of his death had been a deliberately ambiguous act to spare his mother' feelings.
The late Steve Jobs denied that the half-eaten Apple trademark was a silent tribute to Turing but said "I wish to God that it had been".
It is deeply ironic that a man whose actions helped to saved thousands of lives could not save himself in the society of 1950s Britain. It is not by chance that Google purchased his papers to donate to the London Science Museum; they know their very existence might not have happened without him.
Leonardo DiCaprio is reportedly due to star as Turing in a new film tentatively titled 'Enigma'. Good casting if he can get the stiff formal 1950's English accent right.
Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, England, secret headquarters of code-breakers during WW11. It is now a museum.
|Hokusai's 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa'|
|Dylan Thomas 1914 - 1953|
|Marylebone Station facade.|