Alan Mathison Turing is a genius who brought many things to the world of science, the basis of today’s technological advances, in his 42-year short life.
The man who ended the 2nd world war with his knowledge of mathematics, indirectly saving the lives of 14 million people, and ending the war 2 years early, winning the war with mathematics, is the British cryptologist.
A computer scientist, who was shown as the founder of computer science, developed the first programming language, introduced the idea of computer that constitutes the basis of today’s artificial intelligence (AI), and published one of the most cited articles in the history of modern philosophy. (Machine Operation and Intelligence).
As a result of his work, he was a genius mathematician who could not solve any biologist until now, able to express mathematically how patterns in nature (especially living beings) were formed.
A marathon runner and athlete almost good enough for the British Olympics in 1948, two doctor’s degree at the age of 26, the inventor of the Turing Test and the Turing Machine, the father of the Turing Awards, a superior intelligence that forms the conceptual foundation of modern computers.
He is a different and interesting scientist whose contributions to mathematics and cryptology became more understood after his death, which the Queen of UK forgave 59 years later.
At the beginning of the article, although not possible, I wanted to give as brief information about Alan Turing as I could. That he can fit into his 42-year life in the name of Science and life is, of course, much more than the above. Let’s get to know this genius a little more.
Alan Turing Biography (1912-1954)
Alan Mathison Turing was born on June 23, 1912 in London. When he was 6, his family sent him to St Michael’s School in England. He was already recognized by his teachers as a potential genius.
Alan Turing and Mathematics
Alan Turing enrolled in 1926 at the renowned independent Sherborne school. His interest in learning was so high; although the first day of the school coincided with the general strike in England, he rode a bicycle 97 km from Southampton to Sherborne to get to school. He stayed one night on the road and managed to catch up with the first lesson of the period.
Turing’s curiosity for mathematics and science was not welcomed by teachers who were in favor of classical education, and his dissatisfaction was reported to his family in a letter.
In the letter they said, “If your child wants to learn, he should learn the classics, and if he’s going to interested in science or math, he doesn’t have a job at a public school.”
His mother and family, who given information about observing and investigating in nature with wandered through a magnifying glass when Alan was younger; What do you think they might have thought when they got this letter?
Or do you think that this letter intimidated someone who had reached the first day of school by cycling a distance of 97 km? Of course not!
Although Alan Turing did not take advanced mathematics classes, he faced Einstein and Newton‘s “Questioning the Laws of Motion“. Turing not only grasped this, but further advanced this work.
Having spent his life constantly in the field, constantly experimenting, making measurements and drawings, Alan Turing has always been involved in the science and made it possible to experience it.
The First Love and The Pain of Death Makes Alan Turing a Different Person
Everyone at Sherborne School saw him as an enviable genius and different. Turing’s intriguing personality was not welcomed by other students, he was exposed to violence by the spoiled students of the school at every opportunity. But Christopher Morcom wasn’t one of them. Although Christopher Morcom was not a genius like Alan Turing, he was very different and intelligent from the other students around him.
Such that; the mathematics lessons at the school were very simple to both, and they sent cryptic messages to each other to avoid being bored during the class. Cryptology was of particular interest to both.
It was precisely during this period that Alan Turing realized that he was extremely interested and enthusiastic about mathematics and cryptology. Alan also realized that he had an interest in Christopher Morcom.
One day he wanted to convey his feelings to Christopher Morcom with a cryptic message saying, “I love you.”
But when his friend died of tuberculosis a few weeks before the end of school, when he was about to deliver this note, Alan Turing is now much more different, withdrawn, and his religious beliefs are destroyed.
The World War II ended with the code breaker Alan Turing
During the Second World War, the British Royal Navy secretly recruited cryptologists and probabilists in a radio factory called Bletchley Radio Manufacturing. This meeting was planned to break the code of Enigma, the German encryption communication tool.
Alan Turing’s distinct personality was not welcomed by the navy commander, but he was able to find a place for himself in this team. Having knowledge about the Enigma machine before, it gave him an advantage and he was able to take part in this team.
However, Turing could not work in harmony with his teammates. Because Alan Turing did not think that Enigma could be solved by human occupation.
Turing only thought that the passwords of such a machine could be broken by another designed machine and he started designing a machine.
As well as his teammates, the British Royal Navy, The Americans, the French thought that Enigma was an impossible machine to break, and therefore the course of the war would continue against them.
They weren’t wrong either!
What kind of machine was the Enigma?
Enigma was a code encryption machine developed by German scientist Arthur Scherbius at the end of the First World War.
By matching each letter of the entered message to another letter at random, the machine was inconclusive for enemies to obtain intelligence from the communication of the allies.
Enigma’s codes were changed by the Nazis every 18 hours.
The Enigma had more than 159 trillion possible settings.
Enigma, which can be solved in 20 million years, had to be solved within 20 minutes with the assigned team. For this seemingly impossible situation, Alan Turing had a machine in mind.
The Bombe Machine (Christopher)
Alan Turing faced many obstacles when designing The Bombe Machine. This machine required £ 100,000 and time to design. The British naval commander had already disliked Turing and rejected these requests from him.
Turing, who made it a habit to overcome all the obstacles in reaching his goal during his school years, sent a letter to the then Prime Minister of England, Winston Churchill.
Winston Churchill provided the necessary money and appointed Alan Turing as the leader of the team trying to resolve Enigma.
Turing fired some of the staff that he saw as useless. Instead of the fired staff; he included himself in his team by interviewing among those who had solved the crossword puzzle he had designed.
Joan Clarke was the most remarkable name of this team with their intelligence and beauty. Although Alan Turing was homosexual, he proposed to her to stay with him and they got engaged.
The machine that Turing designed to decrypt Enigma’s cryptic messages was called Bombe. But Turing called it Christopher.
It is not known whether Christopher Morcom referred him to the field of cryptology during his school years, or whether he was given this name because of his love, but he often used the name Christopher for his machine, which he watched him work with passion.
The Secret Hero of the Second World War: Alan Turing
Alan Turing and his teammates had designed and managed the Bombe, which they planned to break Enigma. However, the machine was running slower than expected and exceeded the time required to break the code each time. Turing struggled to resolve this issue for days.
Later, Alan Turing paid attention to detail. He realized that the Nazis published an air report every morning and ended with “Heil Hitler” inde each time. On top of that he went to an overhaul at the Bombe machine, enabling him to decode it in a narrower range.
The Nazis, who exaggerated their loyalty to Hitler, made a huge mistake that changed the course of the war.
They succeeded. Enigma, thought to be impossible to decode, was now broken.
Alone Alan Turing
He decided to create the first modern computer in the modern sense by combining the end of the war in Europe with his ideas on logic in mathematics, his experiences during the war in cryptology, and his knowledge of electronic devices.
But he was unable to continue his work comfortably, as information about the breaking of Enigma during the war remained a state secret.
Enigma has been a secret for more than 50 years.
During an investigation into a burglary at his home in 1952, it was revealed that Alan Turing was gay.
In Britain at the time, homosexuality was a crime of morality, and the judge gave Turing two options. 2 years in prison or chemical castration!
Turing preferred the method of chemical castration in order to continue his studies and to consider the bad events that could happen to him in prison.
The drugs he had taken during this period began to impair his body and mental health. Turing, who was left alone because of the disclosure of his sexual preference, was unable to continue his studies.
The only person trying to help him during this difficult time for Turing was her ex-fiance Joan Clarke.
How Alan Turing Died?
It Was The Last Time He Bit The Apple He Liked So Much
Turing liked apples and had made a habit of eating an apple every night before going to bed.
He was found dead in his home on June 7, 1954. According to police reports, Turing had committed suicide. By dipping his favorite fruit into cyanide and biting it.
Although his mother thought that he had died of cyanide in his hands after an inexperienced chemistry experiment, those who knew Turing might have thought that the probability of suicide was more convincing.
Did Alan Turing Really Suicide?
Many conspiracy theories have been produced to answer this question.
One of these; he knew a lot of information. It was claimed that he was killed by the British Secret Service (MI6) because of the possibility that he would tell someone.
I can seem to hear the question “why would they kill him years after the war“. I told you this is all conspiracy theory, and in response to this, Alan Turing’s sexual preference could be used for a threat and blackmail, thinking that information could be easily obtained.
But the real possibility is that Turing actually committed suicide, as the official records show.
This lonely man, who was alleged to have loved the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in his childhood, produced the poisonous apple on his own and left the entire world that excluded him forever.
The half-eaten cyanide Apple that caused his death has become a symbol of Turing’s suicide.
Is Apple’s Logo Inspired by Alan Turing’s Death?
Apple’s logo is inspired by the death of Alan Turing is designed by the world of science is discussed. But in Steve Jobs biography; He stated that Apple’s symbol had nothing to do with Alan Turing’s death.
What a nice coincidence!
Did Alan Turing see himself as a genius?
While everyone saw him as a genius, he described himself with these words:
“Newton had discovered the binomial theorem at the age of 22. Albert Einstein wrote 4 articles that changed the world when he was 26 years old. As far as I can tell, I’m mediocre.”
The Queen Apologizes to Alan Turing (Royal Pardon)
Turing, the secret hero of the World War II, who died at a very early age due to social intolerances and tried to be forgotten, was given the respect he deserved, albeit late.
In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing a royal pardon after her death and honored her for her unique heroism.
Bronze Statue Of Alan Turing
Manchester Sackville Park features a statue of him seated on a bench and with an Apple in his hand.
On the slab in front of this statue, it says:
Alan Mathison Turing
Father of Computer Science Mathematician, Logician Wartime Codebreaker, Victim of Prejudice.
Mathematics, rightly viewed possesses not only truth but supreme beauty, a beauty cold and austere like that of sclpture. – Bertrand Russell
The Imitation Game: Enigma
Did you know there was no mention of Alan Turing in the first movie Enigma?
In 2001, although in the story of British film Enigma that how the Enigma Machine was broken during World War II, Alan Turing was never featured in the film.
The movie we will be discussing under this title is; The Imitation Game: Enigma. A US-made adaptation of Alan Turing’s life in bold is a motion picture.
“Are you paying attention? Good. If you are not listening carefully, you will miss things. Important things. I will not pause, I will not repeat myself, and you will not interrupt me.” Starting with the words Benedict Cumberbatch, the film is an excellent work for those who want to get to know Alan Turing closely.
If you haven’t seen this movie before, I would definitely recommend you to watch it.
I would like to end my article titled Who is Alan Turing with some statements that affect me in the film.
During his school years, Christopher Morcom tells Alan Turing what cryptic messages mean and Turing said:
How’s that different from talking? When people talk to each other, they never say what they mean. They say something else, and you’re expected to just know what they mean. Only I never do. So how’s that differrent?
When Turing was questioned by the detective in 1952, he perhaps expressed a sentence that summarized his life:
You like strawberries, I hate ice-skating, you cry at sad films, I am allergic to pollen. What is the point of…of… different tastes, different… preferences, if not, to say that our brains work differently, that we think differently? And if we can say that about one another, then why can’t we say the same thing for brains… built of copper and wire, steel?
Alan Turing To Be The Face Of New £50 Note
The Bank of England decided to use Alan Turing ‘s face on the £ 50 banknotes.
The £50 note will be the last of the Bank of England collection to switch from paper to polymer when it enters circulation by the end of 2021.
Top 10 Most Inspiring Alan Turing Quotes
* A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human.
* Programming is a skill best acquired by practice and example rather than from books.
* Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes hollow.
* I have such a stressful job that the only way I can get it out of my mind is by running hard.
* A very large part of space-time must be investigated, if reliable results are to be obtained.
* Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity.
* Those who can imagine anything, can create the impossible.
* The original question, ‘Can machines think?’ I believe to be too meaningless to deserve discussion.
* Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition.
* If a machine is expected to be infallible, it cannot also be intelligent.
- The Imutation Game:Enigma