Alan Turing: The Enigma

Author(s): Andrew Hodges


It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades - all before his strange and tragic suicide at age forty-one. This classic biography of the founder of computer science, reissued on the centenary of his birth with a substantial new preface by the author, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life. A gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution, Andrew Hodges' acclaimed book captures both the inner and outer drama of Turing's life. Hodges tells how Turing's revolutionary idea of 1936 - the concept of a universal machine - laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing's leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic story of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program - all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.


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One of the finest scientific biographies ever written. -- Jim Holt New Yorker A first-class contribution to history and an exemplary work of biography. -- I. J. Good Nature An almost perfect match of biographer and subject... [A] great book. -- Ray Monk Guardian A superb biography... Written by a mathematician, it describes in plain language Turing's work on the foundations of computer science and how he broke the Germans' Enigma code in the Second World War. The subtle depiction of class rivalries, personal relationships, and Turing's tragic end are worthy of a novel. But this was a real person. Hodges describes the man, and the science that fascinated him--which once saved, and still influences, our lives. -- Margaret Boden New Scientist

Andrew Hodges teaches mathematics at Wadham College, University of Oxford. A colleague of Roger Penrose, he is also an active contributor to the mathematics of fundamental physics.

List of Plates ix Foreword by Douglas Hofstadter xi Preface to the 2012 Centenary edition xv PART ONE: THE LOGICAL 1 Esprit de Corps to 13 February 1930 1 2 The Spirit of Truth to 14 April 1936 46 3 New Men to 3 September 1939 111 4 The Relay Race to 10 November 1942 160 BRIDGE PASSAGE to 1 April 1943 242 PART TWO: THE PHYSICAL 5 Running Up to 2 September 1945 259 6 Mercury Delayed to 2 October 1948 314 7 The Greenwood Tree to 7 February 1952 390 8 On the Beach to 7 June 1954 456 Postscript 529 Author's Note 530 Notes 541 Acknowledgements 569 Index 570

General Fields

  • : 9780691155647
  • : Princeton University Press
  • : Princeton University Press
  • : 0.628
  • : April 2012
  • : 203mm X 127mm X 42mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Andrew Hodges
  • : Paperback
  • : Centenary ed
  • : 510.92
  • : 632
  • : 26 halftones. 20 line illus.