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Alan Turing Centenary Celebrations - Walking Tour

He broke the Nazis’ Enigma code, almost invented the computer, and was persecuted to a painful suicide by the ungrateful authorities. Alan Turing was a tortured genius and became a modern martyr who posthumously received an official government apology from Gordon Brown in 2009.

Turing was a maths prodigy as a boy. At Cambridge University he developed the idea of a thinking electronic machine but lacked the parts to build one. He had an excellent war, heavily involved in cracking the supposedly uncrackable codes that the Nazis had encrypted into their Enigma machine.

When mathematicians at Manchester University succeeded in building the world’s first computer Turing joined them.

It all went wrong for him in 1954 when he was discovered to have had a homosexual relationship, then illegal. He lost his security clearance and was forced to take hormones to “cure” him of his sexual leanings. On 8 June 1954 Turing’s cleaner found him dead. The cause was established as cyanide poisoning.

 

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