Here’s my second blog post on the pioneers, about Alan Turing 🙂
Alan Turing was conceived in Indea. His father, Julius Mathison Turing, was a member of the Indian Civil Service. His mother was Ethel Sara Stoney (the daughter of Edward Waller Stoney who was the chief engineer of the Madras Railways). They both wanted Turing to be brought up in England. Therefore, his parents flew back to London where Turing was born on the 23rd of June, 1912. He had an elder brother and they were left in England to stay with a retired Army couple while his parents travelled back and forth from England and India because of his father’s work.
Turing showed signs of being a genius from a young age. Therefore, his parents enrolled him at St. Michael’s at the age of six. At the age of 14, he went to Sherborne School. However, since he was so educated in both mathematics and Science, this became an issue at his school. The headmistress even wrote to his parents saying that if he is becoming a Scientific Specialist, he was waisting his time in a Public School.
He influenced the development of computer science by providing the concept of “algorithm” and “computation” with the Turing machine. This played a significant role in the creation of the modern computer. Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS) during the Second World War. After the war, he worked at the National Physical Laboratory, where he created one of the first designs for the computer, the ACE.
Turing joined Max Newman’s Computing Laboratory at Manchester University in 1948. He was the assistant in the development of the Manchester computers. This is when he became interested in mathematical biology.
Turning’s sexuality resulted in a criminal prosecution in 1952. This was when homosexual acts were still illegal in the United Kingdom. He accepted treatment with female hormones (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison. In 1954, just after his 42nd birthday, he died from a cyanide poisoning. Some people say it was suicide, but his mother and some others believed his death was an accident.