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Table of Contents
Alan Turing, who wore many hats such as mathematician and computer scientist (among many others), was born in London, England in 1912. He is most famous for cracking coded messages sent by the Nazis during World War Two.
See the fact file below for more information on the Alan Turing or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Alan Turing worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY LIFE OF ALAN TURING
- Alan Turing was born on June 23, 1912 in London, England.
- From a young age, Turing had a natural inclination to mathematics and science courses and was declared a genius by many of his school teachers.
- After the death of his friend and first love, Christopher Morcom, Turing delved further in his studies, and is speculated to be the driving force behind Turing’s atheism and materialism.
- Turing continued his studies at King’s College, Cambridge, earning a first-class honours mathematics degree.
- He took up rowing and long-distance running, and became involved in the peace movement via the Anti-War Council.
- He earned his Ph.D in 1938 in mathematics at Princeton, where he developed a “universal computing machine” which could solve difficult calculations; this would become known as the Turing machine and was a prelude to the digital computer.
- The computer was based on the idea that everything humanly computable could also be computed by the machine.
TURING’S CAREER AND RESEARCH
- Upon returning to the U.K in 1939, Turing was asked to join a British code-breaking organization in Bletchley Park, England when the second World War broke out.
- His most notable achievement at Bletchley was cracking the “Enigma” code, which allowed the British to decipher messages sent by the German forces; he did this by creating an electromechanical machine
called the bombe, which became one of the primary tools used to decrypt Enigma-encrypted messages from the German army.
- The bombe was sophisticated in that it could rule out contradictory messages, which left only the important messages to be investigated.
- Turing then turned his attention to the German naval Enigma.
- He traveled to the U.S in 1942 to work with U.S navy cryptanalysts.
- The decryption of the naval signals led to the Allied victory in the
Battle of the Atlantic.
- In 1942, Turing devised the first systematic method for deciphering
messages that were encrypted by the German cypher machine
referred to by the British as “Tunny.”
- When he returned to Bletchley Park the following year, he continued his work on decrypting messages and writing papers that dealt with mathematical approaches to code-breaking.
- During the mid-1940’s, Turing worked for the National Physical Laboratory in London where he led the design work for the Automatic Computing Machine (ACE); his design was the first complete blueprint of an electronic all-purpose digital computer.
- Unfortunately, the London Laboratory lost the race to build the world’s first working digital computer in 1948, but Turing did write the first-ever programming manual.
- In 1945, he was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his code-breaking work, and made director of the Computing Laboratory at the University of Manchester in England.
LATER LIFE AND DEATH
- In his later years, Turing took a keen interest in artificial intelligence and modern cognitive science; he was one of the first people to suggest that the human brain is akin to a digital computing machine that is initially unorganized, but through “training” becomes a “universal machine.”
- He also proposed a test in 1950 (which would become known as the Turing test) as a criterion to determine whether an artificial computer is thinking.
- He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London in March 1951, which was an extremely high honor.
- In 1952 he published “The Chemical Bases of Morphogenesis” after taking more of an interest in mathematical biology.
- His work is still considered relevant today as it can partially explain the growth of things like feathers and hair follicles as well as the branching patterns of lungs.
- In January 1952, Turing entered a relationship with Arnold Murray, and shortly after his house was burgled.
- As a result of reporting the burglary to the police, Turing revealed that he was in a homosexual relationship with Murray, and was subsequently arrested because homosexual acts were criminal offences in the U.S. at that time.
- Turing was convicted of gross indecency (which was overturned in 2013), and he avoided prison by accepting chemical castration which involved 12 months of hormone therapy for libido reduction and eventual impotency; he was also stripped of his security clearance and was barred from continuing his work.
- Turing died on June 7, 1954; it was determined that his cause of death was cyanide poisoning and it was ruled a suicide, but this ruling remains disputed.
Alan Turing Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Alan Turing across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Alan Turing worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Alan Turing, who wore many hats such as mathematician and computer scientist (among many others) and was born in London, England in 1912. He is most famous for cracking coded messages sent by the Nazis during World War Two.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Alan Turing Facts
- The Legacy of Alan Turing
- Computer Science Index
- Design a Commemorative Bill
- Alan Turing Wordsearch
- Commemorating Alan Turing
- Letter to Alan
- Turing Acrostic
- Writing A Cryptic Message
- Alan Turing Crossword
- Opinion Piece
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