Alan Turing Biography

Alan Turing (1912-1954) was a British mathematician, pioneer of computing and considered the father of computational science and artificial intelligence.

Childhood and Youth

Alan Mathison Turing (1912-1954), known as Alan Turing, was born in Paddington, England, on June 23, 1912. The son of Julius Mathison, an Indian Civil Service employee, and Ethel Sara Stoney. He had a rigid childhood and studied at the traditional Sherbourne School. From an early age he showed interest in science and logic.

At the age of 15, he was already solving complex mathematical problems, without having studied calculus. At the age of 16, he met Christopher Morcom, for whom he was attracted, discovering that he was a homosexual. In 1930, Marcom died suddenly. 

Education, University & His Work

In 1931 Turing graduated in Mathematics with honors from Cambridge University.

After graduation, he undertook studies to create an automated machine, which would materialize human logic and solve any calculation represented in the form of an algorithm, which would be displayed in the form of instructions to be processed mechanically, inside the machine itself. The “Turing Machine” became a prototype of modern computers.

Alan Turing worked as an employee at the Government Code and Cypher School between 1940 and 1941, and developed a machine capable of deciphering the “Enigma”, code used by the Nazis during World War II, thus giving the allies an advantage that allowed them to defeat more quickly to Germany.

After the war, he worked at the UK National Physics Laboratory where he researched and worked on the design for the data storage program, ACE. Created Manchester 1, the first computer with guidelines similar to todays. He also became interested in chemistry, when he spent a time working at Bell’s laboratories in the United States.

Last Year and Death

In 1952, Alan Turing faced a criminal case, because at the time, in England, homosexuality was considered a crime. He was stripped of his post at Bletchley Park, the English decoding center, condemned.

With his prestige relegated, Alan Turing died at age 41 of cyanide poisoning. At first it was believed to have been suicide, but scholars have concluded that the poisoning was due to medications he compulsively took.

A campaign to forgive the mathematician began on the internet, demanding a posthumous request from the British government. In 2009, then English Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized on behalf of the government, and on December 24, 2013, Turing was posthumously pardoned from conviction for homosexual practice by Queen Elizabeth II.

Alan Turing died in Wilmslow, England, on June 7, 1954.