#
Alan Turing

Alan Turing was born on June 23 1912 in London.
Although Turing made significant contributions to group theory,
number theory, and artificial intelligence, he is best known for
his work in the theory of computing. In a fundamental paper
published in 1936, he introduced the theoretical model of computer
now called the Turing machine, and proved that there are some natural problems
this model cannot solve.

During World War II, Turing played a major role in British codebreaking
activities at Bletchley Park.

In 1952, Turing was arrested for "gross indecency" after a
burglary led to the discovery of his affair with Arnold Murray.
Overt homosexuality was taboo in 1950's England,
and Turing was forced to take estrogen "treatments" which rendered him
impotent and caused him to grow breasts. On June 7, 1954, despondent over
his situation, Turing committed suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide.

## Sources

- A. M. Turing, On computable numbers, with an application to the
Entscheidungsproblem,
*Proc. London Math. Soc.* **42** (1936), 230-265.
Corrections, **43** (1937), 544-546.
- Andrew Hodges,
*Alan Turing: The Enigma*, Simon and Schuster, 1983.

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September 10 1998