Code breaker Alan Turing’s notebook to be auctioned
A handwritten notebook by British World War II code-breaking genius Alan Turing is expected to bring at least US$1 million at auction in New York on Monday.
The 56-page manuscript was written at the time the mathematician and computer science pioneer was working to break the seemingly unbreakable Enigma codes used by the Germans throughout the war. It contains Turing’s complex mathematical and computer science notations and is believed to be the only extensive Turing manuscript known to exist, according to Bonhams, which is offering the manuscript for sale.
The story of how Turing and a team of cryptanalysts broke the code was portrayed in the 2014 movie “The Imitation Game,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of Turing.
The notebook dates from 1942, when they were at the United Kingdom’s World War II code and cypher school Bletchley Park. In one entry, Turing writes about a complex calculus notation.
“The Leibniz notation I find extremely difficult to understand in spite of it having been the one I understood the best once! It certainly implies that some relation between x and y has been laid down eg, y(equals)x2+3x.”