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Short biography of
Alan Mathison Turing was born June 23, 1912 in a nursing home in Paddington, London to Julius Mathison and Ethel Sara Turing. His father Julius, an officer in the British administration in India , decided that his son would be raised in England.
Alan Turing and his older brother John had a childhood ridigly determined by the demands of the class and the exile in India of his parents. Alan and his brother were shuffled amongst various English foster homes as children until their father retired from India in 1926. Alan was niether encouraged nor supported in the foster homes and through his own pursuits found a deep underlying passion for science, first in chemistry experiments.
As Alan became more enticed with science his mother worried that he would not be accepted into Sherbourne,the English Public School. However, in 1926 Alan was granted admission into Sherbourne and his mother's fears were dissolved for a short while. Soon after his admission the Headmaster soon reported :"If he is to be solely a scientific specialist, he is wasting his time at a public school." In hindsight, we might say this Headmaster's assessment was almost correct. Many other teachers also made similar remarks.
In 1928, Turing began to study relativity. It was at this time, on the sixth form that Alan met Christopher Morcom; and everything changed. However, when his good friend Christopher Morcom died in 1930, Turing was devastated, but at the same this motivated him to do what Morcom could not.
For a couple of years following the death Alan wrote letters to Morcom's mother questioning how the human mind , and Christopher's mind in particular, was embodied in matter; and whether this matter was released after death. This questioning led him to study twentieth century physics where Turing began to wonder whether quantum mechanical theory affected his questions of mind and matter.
Returning to England and King's College in 1938, he was called on the outbreak
of World War II, to serve at the Government Code and Cypher School in Bletchley
Park in Buckinghamshire. It was there that Turing led in the successful
effort to crack the the German "Enigma" code, an effort which was central
in the defeat of Nazi Germany.
After the war, Turing joined the National Physical Laboratory to work on the design of a computer.He continued his work at the University of Manchester after 1948. Turing's promising career came to a grinding halt when he was arrested in 1952 for "gross indecency". The penalty for this crime was submission to psychoanalysis and to horrible treatments designed to "cure" the disease. Unfortunately, the cure proved worse than the disease, and in a fit of depression, Turing committed suicide in June of 1954 by eating a cyanide-poisoned apple.