The Lockdown Lectures

Alan Turing

Computing Pioneer, War Hero and Gay Icon

During the corona virus pandemic lockdown the Surrey History Meetup is running a series of online talks on all sorts of subjects related to Surrey History. For details of all the talks, see here

Background notes for the Alan Turing talk can be downloaded here. These also contain links to some useful videos.

Dr Alan Turing (1912-1954) was a theoretical mathematician and inventor. His parents lived in Guildford from 1927 and he visited there regularly throughout his life.

In 1936 Turing described the Turing Machine, a programmable computing device. Theoretical at the time, it's the prototype of all modern computers.

Turing's later work as a system designer at Bletchley Park is thought to have shortened the Second World War by several years. Unfortunately this didn't become public until long after his conviction for homosexual acts and his subsequent death in 1954.

Turing was portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the 2014 film The Imitation Game. The film also featured a working rebuild of Turing's "bombe" which broke the German Enigma machine.

The speaker Simon Ritchie is a software engineer and his entire career has depended on the computer systems that Turing pioneered.

Turing did research in many fields in his short life and any talk about him will get into some quite difficult areas. The background notes and videos should help.