Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Scientist of the Week


Alan Turing - Alan Turing was born on June 23, 1912, in London. In his seminal 1936 paper, he proved that there cannot exist any universal algorithmic method of determining truth in mathematics, and that mathematics will always contain undecidable propositions. That paper also introduced the "Turing Machine.” His papers on the subject are widely acknowledged as the foundation of research in artificial intelligence. During World War II, Turing was a leading participant in wartime code-breaking, particularly that of German ciphers. He worked at Bletchley Park, the GCCS wartime station, where he made five major advances in the field of cryptanalysis, including specifying the bombe, an electromechanical device used to help decipher German Enigma encrypted signals. Homosexuality was illegal in the United Kingdom in the early 1950s, so when Turing admitted to police—who he called to his house after a break-in—in January, 1952, that he had had a sexual relationship with the perpetrator, 19-year-old Arnold Murray, he was charged with gross indecency. Following his arrest, Turing was forced to choose between temporary probation on the condition that he receive hormonal treatment for libido reduction or imprisonment. He chose the former, and soon underwent chemical castration through injections of a synthetic estrogen hormone for a year, which eventually rendered him impotent. Because of his arrest, he was not allowed to continue his work in cryptography. He died on June 7, 1954, due to cyanide poisoning. It was later ruled a suicide. (http://www.biography.com/people/alan-turing-9512017)
     --Haley Goodebiddle

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