Tur­ing’s note­book goes for $1m

Wilmslow Express - - NEWS - Abigail O’Leary

ANOTEBOOK be­long­ing to Manch­ester’s Sec­ond World War code-break­ing ge­nius Alan Tur­ing has been sold for more than one mil­lion dol­lars.

Bon­hams auc­tioned the hand­writ­ten 56-page manuscript – the only ex­ten­sive Tur­ing manuscript thought to ex­ist.

Part of the pro­ceeds – around £685,000 – will be do­nated to char­ity.

Auc­tion­eers Bon­hams said the seller wished to re­main anony­mous.

The note­book 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.

Tur­ing’s life was re­cently turned into the film The Imi­ta­tion Game, star­ring Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch as Tur­ing, which won the Os­car for Best Adapted Screen­play.

The sale also in­cludes a work­ing Ger­man Enigma en­ci­pher­ing ma­chine. The three-ro­tor de­vice, man­u­fac­tured for the Ger­man mil­i­tary in July 1944, is es­ti­mated to sell for 140,000 to 180,000 dol­lars (£95,900-£123,000).

Tur­ing was pros­e­cuted for be­ing gay at a time when it was il­le­gal in Bri­tain.

He was con­victed of in­de­cency in 1952 and agreed to un­dergo hor­mone treat­ment as an al­ter­na­tive to im­pris­on­ment to “cure” his ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity.

He died in 1954 of cyanide poi­son­ing, which was ruled a sui­cide, although his fam­ily and friends be­lieved it might have been ac­ci­den­tal.

Last month, Manch­ester’s gay com­mu­nity wel­comed Labour’s pledge to of­fer post­hu­mous par­dons for gay men con­victed un­der his­toric in­de­cency laws. The law will be known as Tur­ing’s Law.

The note­book was among the pa­pers he left in his will to friend and fel­low math­e­ma­ti­cian Robin Gandy.

Mr Gandy gave the pa­pers to The Ar­chive Cen­tre at King’s Col­lege in Cam­bridge in 1977.

But he kept the note- book, us­ing its blank pages for writ­ing down his dreams at the re­quest of his psy­chi­a­trist.

Bon­ham de­scribes Mr Gandy’s en­tries as highly per­sonal; the note­book re­mained in his pos­ses­sion un­til he died in 1995.

At the be­gin­ning of his jour­nal, Mr Gandy writes: “It seems a suit­able dis­guise to write in be­tween th­ese notes of Alan’s on no­ta­tion, but pos­si­bly a lit­tle sin­is­ter; a dead fa­ther fig­ure, some of whose thoughts I most com­pletely in­her­ited.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.