The Man Who Knew Too Much

David Leavitt

The story of Alan Turing, the persecuted genius who helped break the Enigma code and create the fashionable pc.

To unravel one of many nice mathematical issues of his day, Alan Turing proposed an imaginary programmable calculating machine. However the concept of really producing a ‘considering machine’ didn’t crystallise till he and his sensible Bletchley Park colleagues constructed units to crack the Nazis’ Enigma code, thus guaranteeing the Allied victory within the Second World Conflict. In so doing, Turing turned a champion of synthetic intelligence, formulating the well-known (and nonetheless unbeaten) Turing take a look at that challenges our concepts of human consciousness.

However Turing’s work was lower brief when, as an brazenly homosexual man in a time when homosexuality was unlawful in Britain, he was apprehended by the authorities and sentenced to a ‘remedy’ that amounted to chemical castration. Finally, it result in his suicide, and it wasn’t till 2013, after a few years of campaigning, that he obtained a posthumous royal pardon.

With a novelist’s sensitivity, David Leavitt portrays Turing in all his humanity – his eccentricities, his brilliance, his deadly candour – whereas elegantly explaining his work and its implications.