Norman Arthur Routledge
|Died||27 April 2013 (aged 85)|
|Education||Glendale County School|
|Alma mater||King's College, Cambridge|
|Known for||Recursive sets|
|Institutions||Royal Aircraft Establishment,|
National Physical Laboratory,
King's College, Cambridge,
|Thesis||Recursurive Sets (1954)|
|Influences||Albert Ingham, Alan Turing|
|Influenced||Timothy Gowers, Stephen Wolfram|
Life and career
Norman Routledge was born near Alexandra Park, north London, England. He was about to begin secondary education at Glendale County School, Wood Green, in 1939, when the outbreak of World War II intervened. He was evacuated with his mother, going to live in Letchworth with an aunt, and attending Letchworth Grammar School, where he was taught mathematics by George Braithwaite.
In 1946 Routledge matriculated at King's College, Cambridge with a scholarship, where he read mathematics. He was supervised by Albert Ingham and Philip Hall. He gained a first class degree in 1949 and went on to research in recursion theory. It resulted in the papers Ordinal recursion (1953) and Concerning definable sets (1954).
Routledge taught as a scientific officer at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, RAE Farnborough. He went on to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Teddington. These were placements to fulfil the requirements for his compulsory national service. At the NPL in 1952 he was able to become an operator of an early version of the Automatic Computing Engine: the Pilot ACE project supported by Harry Huskey's prototype assembler.
Returning to academia, Routledge became a research Fellow in mathematics at King's College, Cambridge. He did college undergraduate teaching, and after a time was a director of studies. In 1957, he was photographed by Antony Barrington Brown. The photograph is now in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.
In 1959, Robert Birley, Headmaster at Eton College, asked Routledge for a recommendation of some promising student for a mathematics teaching post; and he suggested himself. He taught mathematics at the school for some years and was later a housemaster. He was considered an inspirational teacher, teaching among other Etonians Timothy Gowers and Stephen Wolfram. Later in his life, he taught music for the Salvation Army community in Bermondsey, southeast London.
Association with Alan Turing
Routledge was a friend of the mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing, whom he met after World War II, when Turing was in Cambridge to study physiology. Turing wrote personal letters to Routledge towards the end of his life. After his arrest and before his trial, he sent the following cryptic syllogism to Routledge in 1952:
Turing believes that machines think
Turing lies with men
Therefore machines cannot think
The 1992 documentary programme The Strange Life and Death of Dr Turing had Routledge as one of the interviewees.
- Routledge, N. A. (1952). "A result in Hilbert space". The Quarterly Journal of Mathematics. 3 (1): 12–18. doi:10.1093/qmath/3.1.12.
- Routledge, N. A. (April 1953). "Ordinal recursion". Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. 49 (2): 175–182. doi:10.1017/S0305004100028255.
- Routledge, Norman. "The Eton Headmaster – 'Red' Robert Birley". Web of Stories – Life Stories of Remarkable People. YouTube. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- "N. A. Arthur Routledge". Mathematics Genealogy Project. North Dakota State University. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- "Norman Arthur Routledge". MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. University of St Andrews. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- Dalyell, Tam (29 May 2013). "Norman Arthur Routledge: Inspirational teacher and mathematician". The Independent. Archived from the original on 21 June 2022. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- Turing, Dermot (2015). Prof: Alan Turing Decoded. History Press. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-7509-6524-8.
- "Norman Routledge (1928-2013), Mathematician and teacher at Eton College". UK: National Portrait Gallery, London. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- Wolfram, Stephen (27 August 2019). "A Book from Alan Turing… and a Mysterious Piece of Paper". Stephen Wolfram Writings. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- Crowell, Rachel J. (23 September 2019). "Wolfram Blogging". AMS Blogs. American Mathematical Society. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- Copeland et al., p. 44.
- "Norman Routledge (Teacher)". Web of Stories – Life Stories of Remarkable People. YouTube. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- "LGBT History Month in King's Library". King's Treasures – Special Collections of King's College, Cambridge. Library and Archives of King's College, Cambridge. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- Turing, Alan (1952). "Letter to Norman Routledge". Genius. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- Leavitt, pp. 5, 269.
- Turing, D., pp. 246–7.
- "The Strange Life and Death of Dr Turing (1992)". BFI.
- Copeland, B. Jack; Bowen, Jonathan P.; Wilson, Robin; Sprevak, Mark (2017). The Turing Guide. Oxford University Press. pp. 37, 44, 471. ISBN 978-0-19-874783-3.
- Hodges, Andrew (1983). Alan Turing: The Enigma. Simon & Schuster. pp. 372, 395, 476, 483. ISBN 0-671-49207-1.
- Leavitt, David (2006). The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 5, 25, 265, 268, 270, 271. ISBN 978-0-7538-2200-5.
- Turing, Dermot (2015). Alan Turing Decoded. The History Press. pp. 246–247. ISBN 978-1-84165-643-4.
- Norman Routledge (Teacher), Web of Stories – Life Stories of Remarkable People, YouTube
- Norman Routledge, Saucy Raconteur, Remembers His Friend Alan Turing, Nassau Hedron, The Turing Centenary (+ Bicentennial), 18 October 2011