Andrew Hodges

Alan Turing: The Enigma
  • Alan Turing: The Enigma

  • The official book behind the Academy Award-winning film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley

    Alan Turing was the mathematician whose cipher-cracking transformed the Second World War. Taken on by British Intelligence in 1938, as a shy young Cambridge don, he combined brilliant logic with a flair for engineering. In 1940 his machines were breaking the Enigma-enciphered messages of Nazi Germany’s air force. He then headed the penetration of the super-secure U-boat communications.

    But his vision went far beyond this achievement. Before the war he had invented the concept of the universal machine, and in 1945 he turned this into the first design for a digital computer.

    Turing's far-sighted plans for the digital era forged ahead into a vision for Artificial Intelligence. However, in 1952 his homosexuality rendered him a criminal and he was subjected to humiliating treatment. In 1954, aged 41, Alan Turing took his own life.

Andrew Hodges was born in Suburban London in 1949. Since 1972 he has been working on the theory of twistors - the new approach to the problems of fundamental physics pioneered by the mathematician Roger Penrose. His interest in the mysterious figure of Alan Turing developed partly from his mathematical background, but also from his participation in the gay liberation movement of the 1970s. In 1977 he decided only a full-length biography of Turing could do justice to the issues involved, and this, his first full-length book, appeared in 1983. His classic text has been translated into several languages. He has since returned to mathematics and is a Research Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford University. See for further material.

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