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Arts & Culture

Cracking the Code of Alan Turing

Credit Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Alan Mathison Turing at the time of his election to a Fellowship of the Royal Society.

Let me set the stage a little: A movie called "The Imitation Game" will be released nationwide Christmas day, the latest of several attempts to tell the story of Alan Turing. That story is so big, it can only be told in little pieces.

The piece most people focus on is Turing's work as the single most important code breaker in World War 2, the man who built a machine that broke apart the deeply encrypted Nazi code, and then gave the Allies an advantage that they were forced to conceal.

In fact, later in this show, you'll hear a woman in her 90's who worked near Turing in Bletchley Park who could overhear the Germans talking about the locations of their war ships, which the British dared not attack until there was some other plausible way of knowing that location. But Turing was so much more - a true genius, and a fully tragic figure, one of the inventors of the computer and of hacking.

We'll hear the story of this math genius, an outsider, a man whose homosexuality was treated as a crime by Mother England, but who may have done more than anybody to end the war early and save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Comment below, email Colin@wnpr.org, or tweet @wnprcolin.



Lydia Brown and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.

Colin McEnroe is a radio host, newspaper columnist, magazine writer, author, playwright, lecturer, moderator, college instructor and occasional singer.

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