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The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer

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The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Alan Turing helped break the Nazis' Enigma code and became a champion of artificial intelligence. An openly gay man, he was sentenced to chemical castration and committed suicide. Leavitt portrays Turing in all his humanity--his eccentricities, his brilliance, his fatal candor.

Review:

"Hounded by authorities and peers alike, British mathematician Alan Turing committed suicide in 1954 by biting into a cyanide-laced apple. A groundbreaking thinker in the field of pure math, a man principally responsible for breaking the Enigma code used by the Germans during WWII and the originator of the ideas that led to the invention of the computer, Turing was also an avowed homosexual at a time when such behavior flew in the face of both convention and the law. Leavitt (The Body of Jonah Boyd) writes that the unfailingly logical Turing was so literal minded, he 'neither glorified nor anthologized' his homosexuality. Educated at King's College, Cambridge, and Princeton, Turing produced the landmark paper 'On Computable Numbers' in 1937, where he proposed the radical idea that machines would and could 'think' for themselves. Despite his Enigma code — breaking prowess during the war, which gave the Allies a crucial advantage, Turing was arrested in 1952 and charged with committing acts of gross indecency with another man. With lyrical prose and great compassion, Leavitt has produced a simple book about a complex man involved in an almost unfathomable task that is accessible to any reader. Illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

Leavitt, who teaches creative writing at the U. of Florida, brings his novelist sensibilities to bear on the story of the English mathematician Alan Turing, who helped crack the Enigma code of World War II, crossed paths with the great minds of his time, and found his career as a computer builder cut short after he was arrested for violating anti-homosexuality laws. The biography, however, is no melodrama, focusing most intently on Turing's ideas and their implications for the science that followed.
Annotation 2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

Leavitt, who teaches creative writing at the U. of Florida, brings his novelist sensibilities to bear on the story of the English mathematician Alan Turing, who helped crack the Enigma code of World War II, crossed paths with the great minds of his time, and found his career as a computer builder cut short after he was arrested for violating anti-homosexuality laws. The biography, however, is no melodrama, focusing most intently on Turing's ideas and their implications for the science that followed. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

The story of the persecuted genius who helped create the modern computer.

To solve one of the great mathematical problems of his day, Alan Turing proposed an imaginary programmable calculating machine. But the idea of actually producing a Turing machine did not crystallize until he and his brilliant Bletchley Park colleagues built devices to crack the Nazis' Enigma code, thus ensuring the Allies' victory in World War II. In so doing, Turing became a champion of artificial intelligence, formulating the famous (and still unbeaten) Turing Test that challenges our ideas of human consciousness. But Turing's postwar computer-building was cut short when, as an openly gay man in a time when homosexuality was officially illegal in England, he was apprehended by the authorities and sentenced to a treatment that amounted to chemical castration, leading to his suicide.

With a novelist's sensitivity, David Leavitt portrays Turing in all his humanity--his eccentricities, his brilliance, his fatal candor--while elegantly explaining his work and its implications.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393052367
Subtitle:
Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer
Author:
Leavitt, David
Publisher:
Libri
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Gay men
Subject:
History -- Philosophy.
Subject:
Scientists - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Great Discoveries
Publication Date:
November 2005
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
319
Dimensions:
8.10x6.18x1.11 in. 1.00 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Computers and Internet » Computers Reference » Beginning and Reference
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » Computers

The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer Used Hardcover
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$10.95 In Stock
Product details 319 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393052367 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Hounded by authorities and peers alike, British mathematician Alan Turing committed suicide in 1954 by biting into a cyanide-laced apple. A groundbreaking thinker in the field of pure math, a man principally responsible for breaking the Enigma code used by the Germans during WWII and the originator of the ideas that led to the invention of the computer, Turing was also an avowed homosexual at a time when such behavior flew in the face of both convention and the law. Leavitt (The Body of Jonah Boyd) writes that the unfailingly logical Turing was so literal minded, he 'neither glorified nor anthologized' his homosexuality. Educated at King's College, Cambridge, and Princeton, Turing produced the landmark paper 'On Computable Numbers' in 1937, where he proposed the radical idea that machines would and could 'think' for themselves. Despite his Enigma code — breaking prowess during the war, which gave the Allies a crucial advantage, Turing was arrested in 1952 and charged with committing acts of gross indecency with another man. With lyrical prose and great compassion, Leavitt has produced a simple book about a complex man involved in an almost unfathomable task that is accessible to any reader. Illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , The story of the persecuted genius who helped create the modern computer.

To solve one of the great mathematical problems of his day, Alan Turing proposed an imaginary programmable calculating machine. But the idea of actually producing a Turing machine did not crystallize until he and his brilliant Bletchley Park colleagues built devices to crack the Nazis' Enigma code, thus ensuring the Allies' victory in World War II. In so doing, Turing became a champion of artificial intelligence, formulating the famous (and still unbeaten) Turing Test that challenges our ideas of human consciousness. But Turing's postwar computer-building was cut short when, as an openly gay man in a time when homosexuality was officially illegal in England, he was apprehended by the authorities and sentenced to a treatment that amounted to chemical castration, leading to his suicide.

With a novelist's sensitivity, David Leavitt portrays Turing in all his humanity--his eccentricities, his brilliance, his fatal candor--while elegantly explaining his work and its implications.

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