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Alan Turing by Douglas Hofstadter, Andrew Hodges

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Preface to the Centenary Edition

On 25 May 2011, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, speaking to the parliament of the United Kingdom, singled out Newton, Darwin, and Alan Turing as British contributors to science. Celebrity is an imperfect measure of significance, and politicians do not confer scientific status, but Obama’s choice signalled that public recognition of Alan Turing had attained a level very much higher than in 1983, when this book first appeared.

Born in London on 23 June 1912, Alan Turing might just have lived to hear these words, had he not taken his own life on 7 June 1954. In that very different world, his name had gone unmentioned in its legislative forums. Yet in the secret world, over which Eisenhower and Churchill ...

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