Talk:Alan Turing/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3


Exact crime

I'm curious, was the crime Turing was convicted of actually called "homosexuality," or was it called "gross indecency and sexual perversion"? -- Janet Davis

The crime was "gross indecency and sexual perversion." -- The Cunctator

I had removed the second half of this phrase deliberately. It is not the language given in Andrew Hodges usual accurate and precise way in his book, although not mentioned on the website. Moreover there is no such language in the text of the bill, [1], helpfully found via the internal wikilink. I have reverted this. Js229 10:08, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

Biography reference

The MacTutor biography linked in the article mentions blackmail as reason for his going to the police. Is there a reference to a more precise biography on the web? --AxelBoldt

For precision and accuracy, go to, Andrew Hodges' site. Unfortunately, he doesn't really discuss the trial in detail on the site, leaving the complicated story for his definitive book, Alan Turing: the Enigma. Suffice it to say there was an element of threatened blackmail, but it wasn't really about revealing that Turing was gay, and didn't really figure into the course of events. Basically, once the police got involved in Alan Turing's affairs (so to speak) for reasons that had little to nothing to do with homosexuality, they quickly discovered his homosexuality (he told them) and arrested him for it. The MacTutor biography has a lot of misleadingness. We should email Andrew Hodges ( to see if he's willing to contribute his encyclopedic entry ([2]) to here or Nupedia. -- The Cunctator

Good suggestion to contact Andrew Hodges. I had a go and his response was, reasonably enough: "No, sorry, I'm not going to get into trying to correct it. I've done my bit, what with producing my book and the website! This is free for anyone to use and cite. By all means put in a link to the Routledge essay I wrote, though." He also mentioned some specific errors of fact. I'll have a go at correcting these. -- Uncle Bill 19:58, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)


I hate to admit this, but I had to look up 'larceny' in the dictionary. Is that really a conventional word? -- JanHidders

Larceny is a form of theft, where property is taken unlawfully. The distinction between larceny and burglary is that in larceny the perpetrator does have lawful access to the property, but no lawful right to remove it (burglary involved an act of trespass as well as theft). Police officers are authorised to confiscate the possessions of people they have arrested, but must keep them in a specific location and return all the possessions when incarceration ends (unless a court orders otherwise). Keeping any of the possessions constitutes larceny. Embezzlement dffers in that the perpetrator has the right to remove the property for specific purposes, but removes the property for some other, unauthorised purpose. Larceny is a standard term in criminal law.
I don't think "larceny" exists any more in English criminal law. The Theft Act 1968, which tidied up the law relating to theft of property, creates number of offences that would previously have been larceny.--ukexpat 19:36, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Interesting, as the term still exists in American law, and is actually quite common. Not relevant to this article though.thx1138 08:42, 17 July 2007 (UTC)


"he proved that there was no solution to the Entscheidungsproblem, also known in computer science as the halting problem." That's not true. While any instance of the halting problem can be transformed into the Entscheidungsproblem, that makes the halting problem a "subset", if you like, of the Entscheidungsproblem rather than its equivalent (Robert Merkel <rgmerk at mira dot net>)

Well, the "also known in cs as the halting problem" is oversimplified, I agree. However, it is true that Turing showed that the Entscheidungsproblem is unsolvable by reducing it to the Halting problem, so in a sense the two problems are equivalent. --AxelBoldt

Debate about death

Where's the debate about his death? Anything other than suicide is terribly improbable. --The Cunctator

The cause of his death was debated from the beginning. Claiming it was "almost certainly" suicide is not a NPOV. NPOV now reflects both attributed causes of death.

The only ones who doubted that it was suicide at the time were his mother and others close to him who didn't want to believe it. It was ruled a suicide by the coroner, and very few objective people have any reason to doubt that. --LDC

"others close to him", in other words those best in the position to know his motivations? Homosexuality was seen as a negative attribute by the government at that time. The coroners report may have taken an easy out i.e. "oh, he was homosexual, it must have been suicide".

No, the coroner ruled it a suicide because he was found holding a half-eaten apple that was pretty clearly coated with a significant amount of cyanide that couldn't reasonably have been accidental. He was also known to be very depressed about the prosecution and the hormone treatments. And no, I don't think close friends are the best source of info here--suicide is also frowned upon, and some people just don't want to believe the obvious. At any rate, I don't have any problem with the article mentioning that some people doubt the suicide, as long as its clear that the vast majority accept it uncontroversially. --LDC

No individual on Wikipedia can presume to speak for the "vast majority" regarding an issue which is in dispute.

For God's sake, have you even tried to look up the issue on various sources? I did--most encycopedias simply report it as a suicide without even the slightest mention of controversy. The Turing site itself at says exactly this:

"He was found by his cleaner when she came in on 8 June 1954. He had died the day before of cyanide poisoning, a half-eaten apple beside his bed. His mother believed he had accidentally ingested cyanide from his fingers after an amateur chemistry experiment, but it is more credible that he had successfully contrived his death to allow her alone to believe this. The coroner's verdict was suicide."

Before you accuse someone of not knowing what the majority opinion on an issue is, you might first look to see if you know what the hell you're talking about.

Simon Singh, in his book on Cryptography, cites a morbid habit of Turing's, where he would dangle an apple and mutter something like 'pretty apple, dip it in the brew' as a reference to Snow White. Off the top of my head i can't remember it, but that's the gist of it. He cites it as extra proof of suicide. Pydos 13:01, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

Quoting from a review in the New Yorker, "The possibility of clandestine assassination is hinted by the title of David Leavitt’s short biography, 'The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer' (Norton/Atlas; $22.95)", the whole review is at [3].

In Rudy Rucker, 'The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul' (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2006), p. 164, we find: "The more paranoid among us might even wonder if British intelligence agents murdered him."

It is widely accepted that Turing's death was by strychnine poisoning, not cyanide poisoning. Maybe this should be changed. (one of many sources).

I find many more sources saying cyanide ([4], [5], [6], etc... Just a google search for Alan Turing Apple seems to bring up lots of refs which say cyanide). Other sources? --TeaDrinker 21:00, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
"It is widely accepted that Turing's death was by strychnine poisoning", um, no it's not. Hodges, Turing's primary biographer, has it as cyanide. — Matt Crypto 23:33, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't know about cyanide laced apple. I mean, apple seeds are known to have a small amount of cyanide in them, but what he loaded an apple with cyanide and ate it? 05:45, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Cyanide is a mostly painless way to die - its quick. This is why its been used in suicide pills. Strychnine, on the other hand, is an extremally painful and drawn-out way to die. Why would anyone choose the latter for suicide? It also takes, according to its article here, ten to twenty minutes to start its painful death sequence - much longer than would be needed to finish the apple. Further, I have heard the death given as cyanide poisoning in many places, but never before heard it suggested as strychnine. Three good reasons to discard the strychnine claim. - Suricou Raven —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:09, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Nobel Prize for computer science

The award is frequently referred to as the "Nobel Prize for computer science".

Oh, yeah? How frequent? --Uncle Ed 19:54, 9 Oct 2003 (UTC)

  • As a computer engineer, I can tell you first hand - it is called that very, very often. Raul654 15:03, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Bombe designer

Just curious, the article claims that Turing designed the bombe, but I was under the impression that he modified and improved Marian Rejewski's design, because the Biuro Szyfrow handed those blueprints over to British intelligence before Poland was invaded. Splitting hairs perhaps, but in any case.. --tracer_bullet 18:21, Oct 28, 2004 (UTC)

I think you're right, TB, and I checked with the Hodges biography. I modified the article accordingly. --Heron 20:05, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Later... On the other hand, our article on the Bombe says that the Polish version was called the Bomba. Andrew Hodges seems to have missed this distinction. So we are right to say that Turing invented the bombe, but we should at least point out that it was based on the bomba. --Heron 12:04, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think we may have worded this a bit too strongly. The British bombe was not really a modified and improved Polish bomba. They certainly had superficial similarities (the name, the fact that they tried every starting point for the rotors, and that they were electro-mechanical machines used for breaking Enigma) but the interesting stuff — the cryptanalytic attack — was very different. To quote from a journal article which discusses and compares the two machines, "The Polish bombe did not anticipate those key features which made the British bombe's design unique and highly effective. It is possible that the Polish machine was a starting point for the innovative thinking that led to the British bombe, but we shall never know." (Donald Davies, "The Bombe — a Remarkable Logic Machine", Cryptologia, 23(2), April 1999). We currently say, "[the bombe]...was an improved version of the Polish-designed bomba"; I think we would be safer if we simply said, "[the bombe]...which may have been inspired by the Polish-designed bomba". — Matt 14:01, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think the article should be revised to say that Turing improved on the original Polish bombe/bomba. Gordon Welchman gives an account in "Hut Six Story" - its clear the original bombe/a was a Polish concept. The British refined the idea, and made it work with the additional rotors. But it still worked in substantially the same way. So it was not Turing's invention. Trious 20:07, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
This is not correct. The British bombe and Polish bomba are similar only superficially, and do not work in "substantially the same way". Since you mention Welchman, in his last article on the subject before he died, he quoted C. Deavours, who says, "The British bombes were in no way related to or derived from the earlier Polish bomby." (The Welchman article was written to correct the mistakes in the accounts on Enigma, and to set the record straight on the Polish contribution, so it's implausible that he disagreed with this.) — Matt Crypto 00:38, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, it was more than just an upgrade. I have changed the wording a bit, but I didn't say "may have been", since that could be taken to mean that the British might not have known about the bomba. --Heron 15:53, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying this guys. I think it's really remarkable that one of the greatest war heroes of WWII was this total geek who never even got proper credit for it.--tracer_bullet 15:22, Nov 3, 2004 (UTC)

Photos and copyright

Hodges' has some notes on the copyright of various Turing photos:

(scroll down to the "Photographs of Turing" section).

We need to present a strong Fair use case for the Turing portraits because "You will find that these portraits have frequently been reproduced on the Web, but the copyright of them belongs to the National Portrait Gallery, London, which requires payment of a substantial fee for website use.". — Matt Crypto 01:30, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I deleted the photo belong to the National Portrait Gallery, and substituted it for one on the Hodges cite, which he says has no copyright. I also added the one of him running. If anyone doesn't like them, feel free to change them back. Slim 02:16, Jan 3, 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, I think we're better off with these images. Even if Hodges is incorrect about there being no copyright on them, we'd have a much stronger Fair use case, particularly because of factor 4: "the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work." — Matt Crypto 12:02, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Spencer, I saw you'd changed "honour" to "honor" in the first paragraph. I changed it back, as I believe there are British spellings throughout, and also because this is about a British scientist and the work he did in Britain, so American/Canadian spelling seems a little out of place. Best, Slim 02:47, Jan 7, 2005 (UTC)

Do unsubstantiated rumors belong in an encyclopedia?

It is rumored the old Apple logo of the rainbow apple with a bite out of it was a homage to Turing.

Can we substantiate this at all? If we can't, shouldn't it be removed? -- Beland 03:16, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Do you mean can we substantiate it as a fact, or as a rumor? It certainly is a story, but I've never seen any evidence to support it. I like it in the article, so long as we make it clear it is just a rumor. SlimVirgin 04:34, Mar 1, 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, Viriditas. ;-) SlimVirgin 04:57, Mar 1, 2005 (UTC)
It's quite a fun rumour, so I'd vote to keep it, for now. If the article ever expands a great deal, we might consider chopping it out, as it's something of a trivial datum ;-) — Matt Crypto 14:04, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I don't understand the relevance of this edit: "This seems to be an urban legend as the Apple logo was designed in 1976, two years before Gilbert Baker's rainbow pride flag." Turing died in 1954, so the logo's having been designed in 1976 is neither here nor there. Or perhaps I'm missing something. SlimVirgin 06:45, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)

The way that I understand it, Gilbert Baker's rainbow pride flag wasn't unveiled in public until 1978, so the association of the "rainbow" portion of Apple's 1976 logo with Turing's sexual orientation is moot. But what about the association with Turing's suicide? It seems to be an interesting coincidence.
Check out this site from an alleged insider: Rob Janoff designed it -- an Apple with a bite out of it, indicating the acquisition of knowledge. Originally, the apple logo was to be simple, but the Apple II's advantage at the time was color output, so Jobs argued the logo should have colors, and, of course, Jobs won. He ended up actually specifying several of the colors of the logo.[7]
Also see this interview with Janoff: There's a little bit of a pun in the way that the shape is designed. The bite that is taken out of it. It’s not only the silouhette of an apple, (you couldn’t take a bite like that out of any other piece of fruit shaped that way) but byte is also a computer term. So from the beginning really, I think that what computer people responded to, was the little double meaning there, in the shape.[8] --Viriditas | Talk 07:33, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Yes, the Apple logo was rooted in Judeo-Christian notions of the tree of knowledge, etc. The Apple I, not coincidentally, cost $666.66. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:20, 31 March 2007 (UTC).
Oh please, that price had nothing to do with that. From Woz's own statement on his site:
'Woz: Steve Jobs arranged to sell the Apple I's for $500. We needed a suggested retail price. I think that he suggested $650 and I took it to $666, then $666.66. I have always been into repeating phone numbers. My dial-a-joke number at that time was 255-6666. Neither of us had any bad ideas or even knew that 666 carries negative messages. ' --Marty Goldberg 06:05, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Okay, that I just do not buy. Two highly educated guys, no matter how geeky, in this day and age who aren't aware that 666 has religious and satanic associations? This is not all that obscure a fact; it turns up in popular culture all the time. Not saying that we should change the article, that's his stated position so I guess that's it, but "neither of us even knew that 666 carries negative messages?" Pull the other one.

Apple Logo, Urban Legend?

"In the book, Zeroes and Ones, author Sadie Plant speculates that the rainbow Apple logo with a bite taken out of it was a homage to Turing. This seems to be an urban legend as the Apple logo was designed in 1976, two years before Gilbert Baker's rainbow pride flag." - This sentance doesn't make sense, how does the argument relate to the truth of the urban legend? ---- Tompsci 18:58, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Urban Legend is probably the wrong term. Plant's speculation is made demonstrably false by the timeline. --DDG 19:58, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
But if Turing died on the 7 June 1954, that's 18 years before the logo was designed in 1976.... ---- Tompsci 23:01, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
No, the point is that the association of the rainbow with gay pride would not have been there when the logo was designed, so they wouldn't have used it to honor Turing, whose suicide (if that's what it was) via the poisoned apple is thought to have stemmed from depression over being persecuted for his homosexuality. --Trovatore 23:37, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

The argument published is still nonsensical. The point is actually to know if Plant means that the homage to Turing in the Apple logo is either the rainbow or the biten apple. In the former case, as the wikie states, it would be anachronistic. In the latter, however, it remains possible that the logo is an homage - but to his unusual death, not his homosexuality per se. - J.

Why on earth does everything have to revolve around his sexual orientation!? If he were straight and the colours were that of a straight pride flag (if such a thing exists) would you be arguing whether or not the colours were indicative of his sexuality? Gah!

Consultancy for GCHQ

How about "Although there is no direct evidence, it is possible that his conviction led to a removal of his security clearance and may have prevented him from continuing consultancy on cryptographic matters."? This seems a bit odd to place such a claim without any citations. Any thoughts? --droptone 08:10, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't have citation in hand, but it isn't merely "possible", that was exactly the reason for his loss of security clearance. It didn't prevent him from continuing to consult, but it effectively terminated his employment. TShilo12 14:41, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
From Andrew Hodges' Alan Turing: the Enigma, p496–7: "When Alan met Don Bayley in October 1952, he had told him something — though without going into detail — that no other of his friends knew. He had been helping Hugh Alexander with cryptanalytical work. He also said that he could no longer do such work, because there was no room for homosexuals in that field. It might have been more of a blow to GCHQ which — so Alan told Tony Brooker — had at one point offered him the colossal salary of £5000 to have him back for a year. Similarly, Hodges writes in the ODNB entry on Turing that he "had also continued to be consulted by GCHQ, the successor to Bletchley Park, but homosexuals had become ineligible for security clearance, and he was now excluded. His personal life was now subject to intense surveillance by the authorities, who regarded his sexuality as a security risk. — Matt Crypto 17:31, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
So, yeah, what I said. Droptone, now you have a citation. TomerTALK 04:07, 24 November 2005 (UTC)


  • is this a typo? "he must aimed at becoming educated" -- anon (moved from Todo list)

Mentioning Polish aspects

Moved from To-do list — Matt Crypto 11:00, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I would like to discuss with Matt Crypto his deletion of my reference to Polish priority in "breaking" the Enigma code. This article, in its present state, gives a wrong (yes, wrong) impression that it was all done by Turing and other people from Blechley park. Which is historically untrue. The article makes multiple references to other people that participated in the development, but never mentions the Polish scientists.

With all due respect and recognition, math is not a British monopoly, and Enigma was not broken by Turing or any other British scientist.

And if the article is, as Matt Crypto stresses, is all about Turing, then the reasons for including British mathematicians are not more valid than those for including Polish mathematicians.

My email is

Enigma wasn't broken solely by Poles — there were 1000s of people who worked on breaking Enigma, Poles, Brits, French and Americans. We can't mention everybody, and the Polish work is amply discussed in other articles. In an article on Alan Turing, we should just focus on Alan Turing. I don't believe we imply that Enigma codebreaking was a British/AMT monopoly in any way; we just describe his contribution, and that's it. The reason we mention Welchman and Keen is that they were Turing's colleagues who worked with him to design and build the bombe. — Matt Crypto 11:14, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Fully supporting this. As for "math is not a British monopoly", well no, but "maths" may be! ;) violet/riga (t) 11:23, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

"Enigma wasn't broken solely by Poles — there were 1000s of people who worked on breaking Enigma, Poles, Brits, French and Americans." - perfect. Let's have this kind of statement in the article. Enigma was not broken solely by Turing, by Brits (I never heard of any American input), but by an internatinal team. While probably too idealistic and politically correct, it would still be more fair. Statements like "He contributed several mathematical insights into breaking both the Enigma machine" give a wrong impression that Enigma was not cracked before Turing started working on it. Polish Bomba (see was sucessfully working in 1938.

I don't think so, personally — even if I knew nothing about a subject, if I read that someone "contributed insights" into something, I wouldn't think that nobody else had ever worked on it. — Matt Crypto 10:09, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Any ideas, by the way, why Turing is not even mentioned in "Bomba" and "Enigma" articles? Could we, at least partially, find a common ground here? Please excuse me, but this kind of defense reminds me the small patriotisms flourishing in Estonia, Turmenistan, and the like. Turing was a great scientist, and Britain is a great coutnry, and neither of these two deserves this doubtful kind of protection.

I think the reason Turing isn't mentioned in the Bomba and Enigma machine articles is that he would be a little off-topic (in the same way that Rejewski et al would be off-topic in this article). The Enigma machine article discusses the operation and history of the machine itself, in which Turing doesn't feature at all. He does, of course, get a mention in Cryptanalysis of the Enigma. I don't think this is "small patriotisms" here, just keeping on-topic. — Matt Crypto 10:09, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Was Turing a war hero?

The article needs to be clear about the status of Turing as a war hero. One contributor regards the term as POV whilst another states that such an attribution doesn't belong in an encyclopædia. I doubt either of these views is correct. The lack of official recognition should not prevent an objective historical assessment. Turing did not receive any recognition during his lifetime since his work was classified. Nor was there any posthumous recognition given the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his death. Were it not for breaking the Enigma code, the war would have continued for longer with all the consequent death and destruction. Were it not for Turing, the Enigma code would not have been broken so early and so consistently thereafter. This counterfactual assessment may be debated and other names may be credited. The question remains how to recognise not only someone's intellectual but also their moral worth. Turing did not seek recognition but he certainly deserves it. The ironic aspect of this is that the Turing name is used to reward others but the man himself was not rewarded.

Well, the way I see it is that whether Turing qualifies as a "hero" or not is essentially a subjective judgement, and not an objective fact. The best we can do on Wikipedia is record other people's opinions of Turing — we cannot and should not try to judge whether he "deserves it" or not. And ultimately, we don't need to tell people he's a war hero. It should suffice that they can read what he did during WWII; people can draw their own conclusions. — Matt Crypto 13:02, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
It's reasonable to note in the article that some consider him a war hero. That isn't a subjective judgement on the part of Wikipedia. It's objective reporting. It is a fact that there are people who consider him a war hero. Why else would we be having this particular discussion? It's also useful to note, as you did, that he didn't get recognition as such during his lifetime.

Apple logo too prominent

Can we remove the Apple logo. It is a very prominent, bright graphic that has little to do with Turing's life as he led it. It may warrant a reference in the 'Alan Turing' entry but as substantial content seems suited to an entry on the Apple logo. 12:08 (UTC), 13 Dec. 2005

Agree completely. I took it out, but placed the caption in the text. Hu 13:56, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Currently, I cannot find any reference to the Apple logo on the Turing page. I agree that there are some controversies about the logo and Turing death, but a trivia section could be opened, where this information is reported. I'm not enough informed to add this information myself, however I find it strange that it is not present. 23:29, 21 February 2007 (UTC) Alfredo

A quick search on Google shows that this idea is probably a myth. -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 23:41, 21 February 2007 (UTC)


I just reverted the page to remove the name "Alan Mathison-Edward Turing" to change back to "Alan Mathison Turing." Does anyone have a source to indicate that his proper name should be the former? I posted to User_talk: who added the "Edward." The same IP has changed the name twice before (to different names each time) which makes me think it is a case of sneaky vandalism. --Hansnesse 01:08, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Absolutely. 01:13, 25 January 2006 (UTC)


I am completely disagree with the term "hypercomputation" in Turing's dissertation used in this Wikipedia article. it is right that it is about machines with oracles but the name "hypercomputing" or "hypercomputer" goes far beyond. It is a new concept made to conceptualize the idea of the possibility of effective computation non-Turing computable going against the Church-Turing thesis. While Turing's idea relativise the theory in order to make deductions as general as such from Godel: it does not matter how powerful is a new oracle, the halting problem still stands, as in Godel work in which it does not matter how strong is a consistent theory it will be always incomplete if it includes at least the power of arithmetic. I undersand that this misundersating comes from Copeland claims but even if he is not agree with me there is a big disagree in the academical media about his claims in such respect and thus I think such term must be omited. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 23:03, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Minor but Important Addition To The Turing Page

I found an online version of Turing's paper On Computable Numbers, With An Application To The Entscheidungsproblem. I've added it to the external references section. Only problem is that the page only renders correctly in Internet Explorer (5.5 and upwards), which is a pity given the importance of the document. Even despite this fault, I considered it appropriate to add to the list of external references. It was, after all, one of his zenithal intellectual achievements. Calilasseia 20:27, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

There are online versions that are more portable; I found PDF and JPEG versions after a quick Google. We could use those instead. — Matt Crypto 20:41, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Peer Review?

Has anyone considered putting this article up for Peer Review? I think it might help with a later FA nomination. PaulC/T+ 00:35, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Maybe. There's been some feedback already in the recent FAC nomination: Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Alan Turing. — Matt Crypto 08:50, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Turing test in intro

While the Turing test is an interesting and significant part of Alan's history, I don't believe that it is important enough to warrant first-mention in the introduction to the article. Any objections to dropping it down to the end of that second paragraph? Ziggurat 03:10, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

I was almost going to say, "go for it", but it is, more than anything else, unfortunately, what he is known for. I don't think it makes a big difference either way, and I agree that its certainly not his most important contribution, but it is likely his most well-known. -Smahoney 03:23, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure it is what he is best known for. Surely his work on code-breaking is more famous in a modern context? --Richard Clegg 15:35, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
It depends on who you talk to. Historians will say the cryptography, and computer scientists will say the turing machine or turing test. I think they should both be mentioned, and it doesn't really matter which is mentioned first. As it stands though, the intro "paragraph" is 4 paragraphs now, and is far too long; it really should be condensed. --DDG 18:26, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Turing was a multifaceted chap, and four paragraphs is acceptable for a long article (which this article should be, eventually). We could merge the two sentences on codebreaking into one, but we need to summarise the main points of his life, and I can't see much else that could go. (Don't forget that Turing is also known for being a "gay man before his time", for which he is possibly most famous amongst non-technical people). — Matt Crypto 19:40, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Not a "gay man before his time". He lived during his time and excelled. The real point is that he was forced to inject female sex hormones by his government and died before he should have. This shows the corrosive effect of homophobia. The world lost years of productive work from Turing.
It was a quote from Andrew Hodges's web site. The point is that Turing is known for a variety of different reasons, and it's difficult to summarise all of them in the lead section in a balanced way. — Matt Crypto 12:03, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Turing as a philosopher - a sugestion

Turing's influence on the philosophy of mind has been profound. Perhaps it would be appropriat to include a Philosopher's Infobox to mark this - something like:

Alan Mathison Turing
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
Main interests
Logic, Philosophy of mind
Notable ideas
Turing Machine, Turing test

Not at all sure which school he would be included in, though. Banno 23:12, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Not sure about this. He's not any more a philosopher as he was a computer scientist, logician or cryptgrapher. — Matt Crypto 17:01, 16 August 2006 (UTC)


According to a biographical movie I saw about Turing starring Derek Jacobi, Turing had a stuttering problem. Is this verifiable? - Zepheus (ツィフィアス) 19:23, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Sort-of. According to Hodges biography, Turing had a "shy, hesitant and high-pitched voice, not exactly stuttering, but hesitating, as if waiting for some laborious process to translate his thoughts into human speech" (p. 24), and his voice was "liable to stall in mid-sentence with a tense, high-pitched `Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah' while he fished, his brain almost visibly labouring away, for the right expression" (p. 209). Max Newman's wife described his "shrill stammer and the crowing laugh which told on the nerves even of his friends" (p. 396). — Matt Crypto 19:53, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, stammer and stutter are the same thing. It seems that those things you mention above would be good to have in the article. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 18:58, 3 January 2007 (UTC)


Turing participated in the Amateur Athletics Association championships at Loughborough College Stadium, Leicestershire on 23 augustus 1947. His 2:46:3 seconds, probably his personal best, had him finish as fifth runner in the race. This race apparently functioned as qualifier for the Olympics of London 1948, and the first and second place, Jack Holden - 2:33:21 - and Thomas Richards - 2:36:7 - were two of the three runners that represented Britain in the Olympic Marathon.
The Olympic Marathon was won by Delfo Cabrera in 2:34:52, Richards came second in 2:35:08, both more than 10 minutes under Turing's time. However, Holden didn't finish, and the third British runner, Stan Jones, finished 30th and last, of 41 started, in 3:9:16. No two marathons are the same, but Turing's time at Loughborough would have put him in the middle of the finishing field at the Olympic Marathon, in 15th place.

(May require some checking of newspaper articles to confirm to en: criteria.) Aliter 22:54, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Is the newspaper cutting at the bottom of this page sufficient confirmation ?

It is to me, but I knew to begin with. On en: I'm just a occasional visitor, and I do not like to get involved with the restriction you set yourself here. I expect, at the least, you'll also need a source for the olympic results, though. (Whether or not 2:46:3 was his best, apparently has been solved already.) Aliter 00:57, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

GA Re-Review and In-line citations

Note: This article has a small number of in-line citations for an article of its size and subject content. Currently it would not pass criteria 2b.
Members of the Wikipedia:WikiProject Good articles are in the process of doing a re-review of current Good Article listings to ensure compliance with the standards of the Good Article Criteria. (Discussion of the changes and re-review can be found here). A significant change to the GA criteria is the mandatory use of some sort of in-line citation (In accordance to WP:CITE) to be used in order for an article to pass the verification and reference criteria. It is recommended that the article's editors take a look at the inclusion of in-line citations as well as how the article stacks up against the rest of the Good Article criteria. GA reviewers will give you at least a week's time from the date of this notice to work on the in-line citations before doing a full re-review and deciding if the article still merits being considered a Good Article or would need to be de-listed. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us on the Good Article project talk page or you may contact me personally. On behalf of the Good Articles Project, I want to thank you for all the time and effort that you have put into working on this article and improving the overall quality of the Wikipedia project. Agne 06:00, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Posthumous recognition section needs work

This section is a group of one sentence paragraphs as it stands. Perhaps it's the nature of collaborative writing that prose can end up like this sometimes and lose its flow as people append small pieces of information to the section, but it really needs to be turned into decent readable prose or made into a bullet point list to maintain the quality of the article. Richard001 06:51, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. Prose would be preferable. — Matt Crypto 06:55, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

I dont really agree with the above. I will say though that the movie (for better or for worse) that was U571 was about capturing a Naval Enigma (Ultra?) "code book". In reality this was subsequently sent to Hut 8 I believe, where non other than our dear friend Alan and his co-workers would have been delighted to use it to very significant effect. Thus U571 is a legitimate citation, though as it sadly does not give him any credit, not as a direct recognition. Though by mentioning it, we could at least make it so here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:21, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure if this should belong to the article (posthumous recognition or Turing in fiction), but there's a Finnish playwright Miko Jaakkola who has written a play together with Jussi Lehtonen about Turing's life called "Turing - matka tietokoneen keksijän mieleen" (Turing - a journey to the mind of the inventor of the computer), and there is an opera / multimedia piece called "Turing Machine" (page in Finnish) made based on it. The work basically summarizes Turing's life as a set of "rooms" of his memory. The multimedia part involves using computer animation on the background and voice synthesis mixed with the more traditional opera side. A chatterbot named Turing Engima was also set up as a part of the performance. It's what got me to come read through the Wikipedia page today. Edit: See Crucible's description for information in English. Kataja (talk) 16:28, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Citation for over 200 Bombes being built

I found a source for the quotation about there being over 200 Bombes built during World War II. It is mentioned about 33 minutes into Episode 3 of the documentar Station X ([9]). I do not know if this is considered a primary source or not, nor how to cite it correctly in the article. --Moop2000 00:27, 15 October 2006 (UTC)


I believe it's strongly thought that he may have had autism. [10] Shouldn't this be mentioned somewhere? --Max 00:07, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

We should find some sources more reliable than a blog post before we add such a speculation. Has this speculation been published anywhere scholarly? — Matt Crypto 00:33, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, he is listed under People speculated to have been autistic, and that cites a few sources. --Max 07:57, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
I have investigated the sources given in People speculated to have been autistic, and I couldn't find anything that I thought was a sufficient basis to include the speculation in this article (YMMV). Tony Atwood has said that, "examples of possible `Asperger's Achievers' are Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Mozart, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Glenn Gould and Alan Turing." I think to include this, we need to show that it is a common and/or notable speculation. — Matt Crypto 16:54, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
Stuttering and being shy hardly qualifies someone as having Asperger's or any other form of autism.

It is a possibility. However, question whether we want to put people in boxes in the first place. Alan certainly didnt like being put into an isolated box of homosexuality, so to repeat the mistake for autism/aspergers could at worst be something of a tragedy.

Telegraph article copying

This recent (01/11/2006) Telegraph article copies parts of this article's lead section with some rearrangement and alteration: [11]

The author, Philip Johnston, is the home affairs editor of the Telegraph, and he wrote:

"Alan Turing is sometimes called the father of modern computer science. A gifted mathematician, logician and cryptographer, he worked at Bletchley Park, the top secret codebreaking centre in Buckinghamshire during the war. For a time, he was head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German Naval cryptanalysis...He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the bombe, an electromechanical machine which could find settings for the Enigma."

You can note the similarity with what we say,

"Alan Mathison Turing...was an English mathematician, logician, and cryptographer. Turing is often considered to be the father of modern computer science...Turing worked at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre, and was for a time head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German Naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the method of the bombe, an electromechanical machine which could find settings for the Enigma machine."

Two other lines from Turing's mini-bio appear to have been copied verbatim from another site: "Turing was the key figure in the continual battle to decode messages encrypted by the increasingly complex Enigma machines, using the Bombe machine" which seems to have been lifted from [12]; the other is "The periods when the Naval code could be broken saw dramatic reductions in the shipping losses from the Atlantic convoys so essential to the conduct of the Allied war effort."

I certainly do not have a problem with people reusing our work -- that's the point, after all, of creating a free encyclopedia. I wonder though whether doing so without acknowledging to the source is, perhaps, a little impolite. It's not a big deal, of course, but I think it's important that if anyone reuses phrases and sentences from another sources without significant rewording or paraphrase then they should say where it comes from. This applies equally, of course, to Wikipedia itself, not just off-wiki. — Matt Crypto 16:12, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

In addition to being impolite, it's also a copyright violation. Most work on WP is copyrighted; the copyright holders (that is, the original authors) have licensed the world at large to use their work, but only in accordance with the terms of the GFDL, which require that credit be given. (A few editors state on their userpages that their contributions are in the public domain; I guess if you're really interested, you could track down the person who wrote that sentence and see if he's one of those.)
But let's keep it in perspective. The copyvio from WP consists of one not-overlong sentence; I would hope the courts would not allow themselves to be clogged up with de minimis stuff like this. Still, it certainly doesn't reflect well on the Telegraph's reporter. --Trovatore 00:32, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

category for renaming

Interested editors please see Wikipedia:Categories for deletion/Log/2006 December 16#Category:People imprisoned or executed for homosexuality. — coelacan talk — 22:52, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the notification. BTW, I love your username. :-) —RuakhTALK 23:29, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Mother's name

At the top, his mother's name is cited as Ethel; in the Biographies section it is cited as Sara. Check on that? /blahedo (t) 17:18, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Yeah. Her full name was Ethel Sara Turing (nee Stoney), but I gather she was sometimes/often/normally(?) known as Sara. — Matt Crypto 17:45, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Well spotted, Blahedo! I don't know if she ever answered to Ethel, but she was always Sara in later life, is Sara Turing on the cover, title page and copyright statement of her biography of AMT, and in the book's foreword Lyn Irvine refers to her as Sara Turing. Sosayso 23:11, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Letters from EST to Lyn Irvine, now in the library of St. John's College, Cambridge, were signed "Sara", so this was definitely not just a nom de plume. Sosayso 11:51, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Apple linked to Snow White

In an article in the french Pour la Science (came out in December 2006), the authors seemed to link the method of using a poisoned apple, which he chose for his suicide, to his admiration of the Disney Snow White. Should it be mentioned? If so I could find the magazine and quote it more precisely. Alessiasakura 15:48, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

GA status reviewed

This article has been reviewed as part of GA sweeps. I believe the article currently meets the criteria and should remain listed as a Good article. The article history has been updated to reflect this review. (oldid reference #:153110053) OhanaUnitedTalk page 15:57, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Recollections by... section

This section seems totally un-encyclopedic to me. And the part about autism totally needs to be sourced. I'd like to remove that section entirely, unless there are objections? -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 14:10, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree entirely, please go ahead. With regard to the autism speculation, this has been discussed before, and no decent sources were forthcoming. — Matt Crypto 18:02, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Birth Date And Year

The top part of the page states he was born on June 23,1912 . On the part of the page that states his early childhood, it states he was concieved in 1911 in India. Is that a unnecessary statement that he was concieved in 1911 in India? WikiEK 16:10, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Well, you could infer (although not with absolute certainty) that he was conceived in 1911 if he was born on June 23 1912. The place is more interesting than the year, though. — Matt Crypto 17:26, 24 October 2007 (UTC)


He just got deleted from a long distance running category with a comment that he was just a famous person who ran rather than being famous for it. So I thought it would be worth checking on his running activities. I found

  1. After WWII, Turing took up long-distance running to relieve the stress and obtained record times in races in the Walton Athletic Club. [13]
  2. 'Alan Turing: world class distance runner', Alan Turing achieved world-class Marathon standards. His best time of 2 hours, 46 minutes, 3 seconds, was only 11 minutes slower than the winner in the 1948 Olympic Games. In a 1948 cross-country race he finished ahead of Tom Richards who was to win the silver medal in the Olympics.' [14]
  3. 'winning their 3 mile and 10 mile championship in record time', 'He ran in the A.A.A. Marathon in 1947 and was placed fifth.' [15]

So a pretty good runner, but would not have got a wikipedia biography about him if he was only known for this. So what do people think about the running categories he is in, and saying more about running in the article? Billlion 19:53, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

While it seems Turing was a fine (if not exceptional) runner, there's a lot of things he is known for more; a biography should (and does) concentrate on those. Having said that, we should probably include a couple of sentences about it, a little more than we do at present. I don't feel particularly strongly that Turing has a great claim to the "long-distance runners" category myself, but I don't see why not. — Matt Crypto 22:31, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Isn't it the Turing THESIS?

I think we can't say that: "He proved that such a machine would be capable of performing any conceivable mathematical problem if it were representable as an algorithm" This is something that Turing proposed, and is generally accepted. It is usually argued that this cannot be proved, and wasn't by Turing, and that's why it's called the "Turing thesis" or "Church-Turing thesis". He did prove the halting problem for Turing machines though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:34, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Family background

I was interetsed to read this on the Foveran page: 'The hereditary baronetcy of Foveran is held by the Turing family. The cryptographer and computing pioneer Alan Turing (1912-1954) was uncle to the present Baronet, Sir John Dermot Turing.' Turing came from an aristocratic family, it seems, but this isn't really mentioned in the article about him. Does anyone have more information? Would he have inherited the baronetcy had he not died so early? Like his uncle, (John) Dermot Turing also went to Kings College Cambridge. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:57, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Interesting. I don't know whether Alan Turing would have inherited the baronetcy -- I would hazard a guess that it would still have passed to his nephew first. I don't think his immediate family was particularly aristocratic; Hodges's biography pitches them as "lower-upper-middle class", and that they "could afford very little". — Matt Crypto 19:01, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


As of 2007-11-08 Pronunciation is given as /ˈtjʊərɪŋ/. gives /ˈtʊərɪŋ/ if you click "Show IPA pronunciation". (They usually give both BE and AE pronunciations should they differ.) Which is correct? --Netizen 14:27, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Dermot Turing, Turing's nephew, pronounces it to rhyme with 'During'. Don't know IPAese. (talk) 12:29, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Just realised some Americans pronounce 'during' differently from the British pronunciation, like the way they pronounce duke differently, so that doesn't help much. It's 'Tyuring' as in the 'you' sound in 'during', 'duke' etc in British pronunciation, not 'dooring' or 'dook' in the American pronunciation. I don't expect this helps at all. Clear as mud. (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 13:13, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps it is not possible to give a definitive pronunciation. Some one speaking RP would say it quite differently from some one with a Mancunian accent. Now Turing was born to colonial parents and brought up in London. So at that time RP would be a reasonable guess. While US v Commonwealth vowel sounds differ, there is probably more variation within the UK. From his educational background one would expect him to pronounce the "r" with careful diction as well Billlion (talk) 11:30, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

That all sounds rather concise and everything, but yeah I'm pretty sure it's 'Tyuring' as the guy above you said. Anything more elaborate kinda makes things unnecessarily complicated. Still, that's never stopped us Americans from pronouncing things and people hideously wrong from time to time :D —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:43, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Asperger syndrome

The following references identify Alan Turing as having had Asperger syndrome, or identify him as a possible case. At least two of the authors of these items are professors, and at least two of them are Asperger syndrome experts.

O’Connell H., Fitzgerald M. (2003). Did Alan Turing have Asperger’s syndrome? Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine. 20, 1, 28 – 31.

James, Ioan (2005) Asperger syndrome and high achievement: some very remarkable people. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Attwood, Tony (2000) The autism epidemic – real or imagined. Autism Asperger’s Digest. November/December 2000. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:59, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

I would definitely suggest that someone add this material to the article. Somewhere else there is a comment that the article relies too much on Hodges' wonderful biography. This is another perspective. Jfgrcar (talk) 20:28, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Question about the statue...

I was looking at the picture, and trying to figure out if he's holding an apple in the hand resting on the bench. Can anyone confirm that this is the case? It would seem somewhat appropriate, with the sense of humor he had. Or at least, that I've read about. D1universe (talk) 08:11, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, I've been there, he is indeed holding an apple. Very appropriate, I thought. (talk) 22:30, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Bearing in mind, of course, that the apple also symbolises stolen knowledge, and that Turing was an avowed atheist. - Tenebris —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:37, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Turing was a homosexual

Would anyone object to changing the first reference to homosexual to gay? Homosexual is a cold clinical term kind of dehumanizes him and the struggles that we gay people have gone through. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:08, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:NPOV Netrat_msk (talk) 17:37, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Church of emacs has changed 'gay' back to 'homosexual'. I would support the change, as this was the term in use at the time and 'gay' had a different meaning. The argument that 'homosexual' dehumanises Turing seems to me to have no validity—historical judgements should be made with an understanding of the context of the time. TedColes (talk) 16:32, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Is should stays as is. I am hetrosexual, not straight. Also, the word 'gay' has other meanings - homosexual does not. Jacobsdad (talk) 08:11, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

I have a different issue with that sentence: "Turing's homosexuality, illegal and considered to be a mental illness during his lifetime ...". It is true that "experts" considered it a mental illness, but he wasn't prosecuted for being sick. He was prosecuted for doing things that were considered criminal actions. Isn't that more relevant? Zerotalk 08:44, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
One wouldn't be prosecuted for homosexuality today, and neither would one (generally) be regarded as "mentally ill". I think it's a useful reminder of the different attitudes that prevailed in 1950's Britain. --Malleus Fatuorum 08:57, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, he was prosecuted for "gross indecency", not for BEING a homosexual. It would be nice to tidy up that text. And I agree with TedColes that "homosexual" was the language of the time. "Gay" meant something else entirely then, and now has too many meanings, including being a general pejorative term for anything teenagers don't like. HiLo48 (talk) 02:31, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
The text seems to me to be perfectly accurate already. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:53, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
The text is wrong - "Turing's homosexuality, which was illegal and considered to be a mental illness during his lifetime, resulted in a criminal prosecution in 1952." It was not illegal to be homosexual, it was illegal to have homosexual sex. (talk) 10:44, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
OK. I've changed it to "Turing's homosexuality resulted in a criminal prosecution in 1952—homosexual acts were illegal in the United Kingdom at that time—and he accepted treatment with female hormones as an alternative to prison." Better? --Malleus Fatuorum 15:28, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

The footnotes

are butchered in the entry, probably a function of sloppy editing. Could someone please salvage the footnotes?SLY111 (talk) 20:19, 21 March 2008 (UTC)SLY111

Turing in Fiction

The entire "Turing in Fiction" section is not only full of trivia, but technically doesn't even belong in this article:

  • Says nothing about Turing. Possible mention in associated pages, but adds nothing to this article.
  • Fictional novel. Perhaps a mention in the bibliography?
  • Says nothing about Turing. Possible mention in associated pages, but adds nothing to this article.
  • Greg Egan's novella, Oracle, is about an alternate universe version of Turing.
  • Says nothing about Turing. Possible mention in associated pages, but adds nothing to this article.
  • In 1987 German author and playwright Rolf Hochhuth published the novel Alan Turing after reading the biography written by Turing's mother.
  • Fictional novel? Already mentioned in the Further Reading section.
  • Neal Stephenson's novel Cryptonomicon features Turing as a supporting character.
  • Says nothing about Turing. Possible mention in associated pages, but adds nothing to this article. Truly trivial.
  • In William Gibson's novel Neuromancer, the military subdivision who control the AIs of Wintermute and Neuromancer are known as the Turing Police.
  • Says nothing about Turing. Possible mention in associated pages, but adds nothing to this article. Truly trivial.
  • In Robert Harris's thriller Enigma, Turing and his work are part of the background involving WWII espionage at Bletchley Park.
  • Says nothing about Turing. Possible mention in associated pages, but adds nothing to this article.
  • In a 2006 film The Good Shepherd, Dr. Fredericks' character is inspired by Alan Turing.
  • Says nothing about Turing. Possible mention in associated pages, but adds nothing to this article. Truly trivial.
  • In the Young James Bond series book Double or Die Alan Turing is character who is working on improving Charles Babbage's work and at the end of the book is helping the British with a code cracking machine.
  • Says nothing about Turing. Possible mention in associated pages, but adds nothing to this article.

Unless there are objections, I'm going to remove the whole section. -- SatyrTN (talk / contribs) 21:21, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Appropriate, as far as I can judge. Glad the info is still here, though.Derekbd (talk) 12:47, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Should we request semi-protection for the article?

This page is practically a "poster child" for semi-protection -- there's a remarkably steady stream of vandalism from randomly distributed sources. Do others agree? The criteria is 5% of edits being vandalism and on this page it must be well over 50%.

Over half the traffic on my watchlist is vandalism to this article. It all gets fixed quickly, but just the sheer noise level on our watchlists is an impediment to real work, I think.

The request page is WP:RFP in case someone wants to just go ahead and make the request. The policies seem to suggest the initial request be for a limited period of time, to see if the problem goes away. I think the idea is that makes the culprits get bored and move on. But it doesn't look like a small number of people or even groups are responsible, so I suspect we'll wind up having this page permanently semi-protected.

Alternatively, we could use the vandalism as a random number generator. Its incidence seems to be a very nice white noise approximation. Turing would have liked that, I think.

--Jeffreykegler (talk) 03:56, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

I would support this. TedColes (talk) 07:55, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

It may be my imagination, but vandalism seems to have slowed. The Wiki-powers-that-be apparently frown on pre-emptive requests for protection, so unless a consensus appears that is eager to make the request, I'm going to wait and see. --Jeffreykegler (talk) 04:12, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

OK, sorry if I'm doing this wrong but it is vandalized right now. Some one replaced eating a cyanide laced apple in the Prosecution and Death section with some ridiculous stuff about a giant laser. I'd fix it myself, but I just signed up today to try to report this vandalization (I just got back from a museum about his work). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wikibufo (talkcontribs) 23:15, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

religious stance

The religious stance in the infobox was recently removed with the comment "Atheism is not a religious stance." This has been discussed at WikiProject_Atheism. The consensus was that atheism is technically not a religious stance but it is still useful to have that information available. I agree and think the infobox should stay as it was. Carlsotr (talk) 18:23, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Photo of Turing

Does anyone know why there is no longer a photo of Turing on the main page Infobox? Was it a copyright issue? It seems a shame to have a picture of a memorial when we have real photographs of the man himself. Todd (talk) 01:49, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

I was just going to say that. I'd support the proposal of changing the photo of the statue for one of Alan Turing. (talk) 07:02, 9 December 2008 (UTC) I too would support this. It is quite strange to have an article about a person of whom many photos have been published without one of him at the top of the page. TedColes (talk) 19:37, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

See the section Public domain photo of Turing--TedColes (talk) 07:46, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Weasel wording in the intro

The statement "[h]e died not long after, under what some believe were ambiguous circumstances" needs to be sourced. Reading the talk page archive, there was some discussion on the circumstances around his death, but no apparent conclusion. There must be some credible sources that at the very least question the nature of his death. I'm not familiar with the literature on Turing, so I don't want to go blindly adding sources myself. freshacconci talktalk 13:08, 12 February 2009 (UTC)


When did Turing receive his OBE and FRS? They are only mentioned in the introduction and infobox, as far as I can tell. novakreo (talk) 12:15, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

OBE June 1946 'for his war service' according to Andrew Hodges (1985) p. 338. FRS 15 March 1951 Hodges p. 438. --TedColes (talk) 13:06, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Turing-Welshman ndash

I can see this just becoming an edit war, although I think those working on this article would still have a good natured one.

I till don't see the need for an ndash here. It's hardly the end of the world, but huge numbers of collaborations have always just been printed with normal hyphen. I don't think there's any likeihodd, ESCPECIALLY considering the title of the article, that people would think Turing-Welchman was one person. —Preceding unsigned comment added by SimonTrew (talkcontribs) 08:03, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Yeah it is not the end of the world. And good to know that everyone here will have a friendly war! SimonTrew (talk) 21:04, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
WP:MOSDASH: use an ndash. Mr Stephen (talk) 21:12, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Fair dinkum. Usually I have the opposite problem correcting into emdash or ndash, not out of them. Here I still kinda grumbly disagree but if those are the style guidelines, I can live with that. SimonTrew (talk) 22:10, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Picture of statue

The pic of Turing's statue in Manchester appears twice in the article. Is this necessary? SimonTrew (talk) 21:02, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. Why not an actual picture of the man someplace in the article? It seems odd that there isn't one. --Mrnorwood (talk) 15:15, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

I too recommend a photo that is free to use. I'll stop short of doing it myself. This is not my baby. Redding7 (talk) 14:19, 7 April 2009 (UTC)Chris Redding links added in good faith

A few refs have been added lately by User:Hugh.glaser, I am sure in good faith, but am a little uncomfortable about them because they link to a dot com. But actually it looks more like a portal for academic institutions. Any opitions? I haven't contacted the user directly yet.

SimonTrew (talk) 22:43, 13 March 2009 (UTC)


Texai, an "open source project to create artificial intelligence" is planned for initial deployment on June 23, 2009 (Turing's birthday). Nino DeCoy (talk) 06:24, 21 May 2009 (UTC)Nino DeCoyNino DeCoy (talk) 06:24, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

reliance on hodges, copeland

All crucial points on Turing's personal life appear to rely on Hodges biography. Hodges being a homosexual rights activist is likely to display some bias in order to make Turing into a poster child. His intentions may be proper but the tendency is probable. Some corroborating biographical sources would be good. Statements like "Turing acknowledged a sexual relationship with Murray" might hide that Murray was a rent boy, or that Turing had been grooming him or that Murray was using sex acts as a lure in order to steal from Turing. Or "Turing was given a choice between imprisonment or probation conditional on his agreement to undergo hormonal treatment" might hide Turing having decided for himself to seek treatment or having viewed himself as being wrong to pursue a homosexual tryst. Such minor points change an onlookers whole conception of Turings mindset in respect of any homosexual activity. In my mind the subtleties should be confirmed if possible. Note is effectively the same source.

Did Turing have any other homosexual liaisons? Was he bisexual?

Copeland seems to be a bit of a fanboy too. For example when talking on of Turing as being the originator of the idea of the stored program no mention appears to be made of those who developed the idea in parallel with Turing - Turing was an awesome mathematician, no doubt. No mention anywhere on of the suggestion of Turing having Asperger's syndrome either? To not even mention it seems strange. Pbhj (talk) 15:47, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm not quite sure I understand what you're concerned about here. Turing was certainly homosexual, had many homosexual liaisons throughout his life, made no particular secret of his homosexuality, and admitted his relationship with Murray to the police. Pethaps a little bit could be added about Turing's brief relationship with Murray (Turing picked him up outside a cinema), as it was evidently an important factor in his life. Is that what you're getting at? --Malleus Fatuorum 16:21, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Things like which quotes Hodges as quoting Turing, speaking to his fiancé saying "... to not count on it working out as he had homosexual tendencies." lead away from the idea that he took part in a series of homosexual relationships. Perhaps it's just how the sources are quoted but I think they're showing some bias - The academic not mentioning mental illness or equal parallel achievement, the social biographer not mentioning (thought I now know he did, just that it's not quoted) potential heterosexual relationships. Your source on the cinema visit and it's addition, which moves to indicate more of Turing's lifestyle, would be good. I suppose it's that it has taken me only about 30mins to find 2 highly notable details on the counter-side of the general thrust of who Mr Turing was is my concern. Thanks for your input. Pbhj (talk) 16:40, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't know - this whole aspect of Alan Turing's life seems thinly sourced to me. We always seem to come back to Hodges and where did he get it from? The story about the Hormone injections (Hodges) and the breast development (Gay web site) etc seems highly implausible, even anachronistic to me. What are the primary sources for all of this - without them I do not believe this stuff at all. Andrei nzv8 (talk) 22:07, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

What is it exactly that you don't believe? That Turing was convicted of "gross indecency"? That he agreed to chemical castration as an alternative to prison? That he suffered from a common side effect of that treatment? --Malleus Fatuorum 08:30, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't believe most of it - where are the primary sources? For example I have done a literature search trying to find any suggestion of treating homosexuals with 'hormones' to reduce their libido or for any other purpose for that matter prior to or during the era this purportedly happened. There is nothing. Yet we are supposed to believe an English Judge or Magistrate sentenced someone to this seemingly non existent treatment in 1952. On what basis would such an order be made?
It doesn't stack up - show me the court records and I'll believe it but a book written by an activist over thirty years after the event a primary source does not make - in fact should be treated with suspicion Andrei nzv8 (talk) 19:30, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I think that you're a little confused. No English judge, and certainly not a magistrate, has ever had the power to "order" chemical castration. Turing agreed to it in preference to a prison sentence. "Court records" aren't generally available in the UK. Would you be satisfied with a report published in a reputable newspaper? Or would you simply then move on to some other nonsensical claim? --Malleus Fatuorum 20:05, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't know anything about Turing's case, but the idea of sex hormone "treatment" for homosexuality certainly existed at the time. For example it is mentioned (with scepticism) in C.E. Smith, The homosexual federal offender: a study of 100 cases, Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science, vol 590 (1953) 582-589. This paper summarises the UK practice in the 1950s. Oestrogen treatment is mentioned. Zerotalk 05:38, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Looking at Hodges p469-470 there are references to the "treatment" in general. Notably the one in note 14, The full ref is F. L. Golla, R. Sessions Hodge, HORMONE TREATMENT OF THE SEXUAL OFFENDER, The Lancet, Volume 253, Issue 6563, 11 June 1949, Pages 1006-1007. The article concludes

In view of the non-mutilating nature of this treatment
and the ease with which it can be administered to a
consenting patient we believe that it should be adopted
whenever possible in male cases of abnormal and
uncontrollable sexual urge.

Billlion (talk) 08:18, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

On Computable Numbers pdf

I linked to a different "On Computable Numbers..." pdf in the Papers section. The previous one changed the original paper's typesetting in some sections. I tried to make sense of the paper from that link and couldn't. I read a version with the original typesetting and found it significantly easier. Compare Section 4 "Abbreviated Tables" from the different pdfs if you want to change it back. The new link is the one used in Wikipedia's "List of Important Publications in Computer Science". (talk) 02:14, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

By the way, the original version from the publisher seems to be freely available at the moment, just follow doi:10.1112/plms/s2-42.1.230. — Miym (talk) 08:02, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for the link to the original. I'm finding that the new pdf link isn't perfect either. The original has its flaws too, like hard to differentiate typesetting (which is what I guess the previous pdf was trying to fix, but did badly). It's unfortunate that each of these are flawed. One almost has to look at both the original and the updated link when making sense of the paper. Anyone have an excellent pdf version? (talk)

Turing's outing

Reading the sentence "Subsequent to his being outed...", I couldn't help but feel it should either "Subsequent to his being 'outed'..." or another less colloquial term such as "exposed as a homosexual" - though admittedly the latter suggestion is clumsy. Xyster (talk) 10:56, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Public domain photo of Turing

The photo of Turing here on The Guardian's article about the recent apology, says it is in the public domain. Can we use this photo in the article then? Daemonax (talk) 13:57, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Absolutely!. That would be a great addition to the article. --Malleus Fatuorum 13:59, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually I'm not convinced this is usable unless we find out more information about this photo (e.g. by asking the Guardian or looking for the source). We can perhaps assume in good faith that the Guardian are correct when they say the image is in the public domain. However as the Guardian is a UK newspaper and website, it's resonable to presume they only care if the image is in the public domain in the UK. It's possible, even if perhaps unlikely the image is not in the public domain in the US (see for example Rule of the shorter term#Situation in the United States) even though it is public domain in the UK (which is I presume the country of origin). As the wikipedia servers are located in the US, we require that all public domain work is public domain in the US. However all this is best discussed at Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. Incidentally, if we are able to determine this photo is public domain in the US and are able to determine it is also public domain in the country of origin (which as said, I'm guessing is the UK but we obviously need more then a guess) then we could even upload this to the wikimedia commons for use by all wikimedia projects. Nil Einne (talk) 22:13, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
The Guardian is one of the most respectable of UK newspapers, not some Micky Mouse local tabloid. Why challenge their assertion of pd while tacitly accepting the facts presented in the article? If you doubt one, then why not the other? --Malleus Fatuorum 22:28, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Did you read what I said? I feel my explaination is clear enough. I'm not challenging the Guardian's assertation but instead pointed out the Guardian's assertation is unclear and could easily be that the image is PD in the UK, which tells us nothing about its status in the US which is essential on wikipedia. To use an example based on your second point, if the Guardian says "T had sex with at least one person" this does not mean we should say "T had sex with several female human, male human and animal partners" (in case it's not obvious, this is completely made up) in the article. If the Guardian had said "this photo originated from the UK and is public domain in the UK and in the US" then fine. Or for wikipedia purposes, if they had said "this photo is in the public domain in the US" since we only care about US status unlike the commons. But they didn't... Again, if you don't understand any of this, I suggest you read our copyright policies and seek help at Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. Nil Einne (talk) 22:09, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I am quite familiar with UK copyright law, which is in many ways far more restrictive than the Florida law that applies to wikipedia. And if you don't understand that, then your comprehension skills rank way down there with your manners. --Malleus Fatuorum 19:10, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

In January this year I contacted Dr Patricia McGuire, Archivist, King's College, Cambridge where they have a number of the photographs of Alan Turing that one sees in books. Her reply was as follows. "Thank you for your interest in the Turing photos. Even for Wikipedia we'd have to charge our 'use of materials' fees, which are a one-time fee of £70, on top of our reproduction fees (£16 for one photo, £1 for additional photos).

"If you're still interested, let me know and we can discuss which photos you might like to use, and get clearance from the copyright holders. King's doesn't have copyright in any of the photos of Turing - our 'use' fee is based upon physical ownership of the originals. I hope that's not too confusing, but please let me know if you have any questions."

I declined her offer but plan to visit Bletchley Park to photograph the statue there, and hope that I can produce one that gives a better view of his face than the long shot of the memorial statue in Sackville Park.--TedColes (talk) 08:05, 29 October 2009 (UTC)


Any chance regular editors of this article could consolidate the lead section into four paragraphs? -- four being the maximum permitted in MOS:LEAD. --Jza84 |  Talk  22:37, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Done. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:50, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Distinguished degree

What does "graduating with a distinguished degree" mean? Presumably he took the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos. Was he first or second wrangler? Did he just get a first? In what way was it distinguished?Billlion (talk) 08:38, 13 September 2009 (UTC). he also got the Smith Prize, but thats not the same thing.Billlion (talk) 08:40, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

He wouldn't have (officially) been first or second wrangler, as the university stopped publishing the class lists in merit order in about 1910. Appointment to a college fellowship and award of the Smith prize suggests he did pretty well, though. -- Nicholas Jackson (talk) 09:28, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
When I saw this heading the first thing I thought of was a Turing degree that's "distinguished" in a mathematical sense (for example, having a constant symbol with that degree as its interpretation). --Trovatore (talk) 09:33, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
So what should it say. "was awarded a first class degree in mathematics", or is there this complicated Cambridge thing of getting a first in part one and two?Billlion (talk) 21:16, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Turing was a B-Wrangler which means first class honours with a distinction in the advanced part which was called schedule B Jfgrcar (talk) 20:35, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

half-eaten apple

Most reports I've read say that there was a half-eaten apple by his bedside. Some say the apple was cyanide laced, others strychnine. Several mention that that apple was not tested in any way and that the cyanide poisoning was declared by the coroner on inspection of Turing's person without account for any visible external sources. Strictly then it seems there was an apple but we can't be sure of anything beyond that. Some even say that the apple was smeared with cyanide-laced jam - which seems quite strange. I'm going to try and edit to clean the point up to leave the known facts and emphasise the speculation - feel free to chip in. Pbhj (talk) 00:44, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

assassination theory

"Assassination theorists point out that Turing's British passport was not revoked after his conviction, although he was denied entry to the United States. He was still free to teach mathematics and to travel to other European countries, which he did many times." --- Can anyone explain how that could possibly support an assassination theory? And it needs a citation. Zerotalk 07:49, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that anyone has ever seriously proposed that Turing was assassinated, and certainly the fact that his passport wasn't revoked is no evidence in support of that notion, whether it's cited or not. I've removed that paragraph. --Malleus Fatuorum 19:03, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Editing Abuse

I've never editted a Wiki page, sodon't know how to remove it, but some little Genius has decided to right the word "diiiiiick" at the end of the main section of this article, can someone please remove this on my behalf.

Many thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:57, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Location of details about the apology

The wording about the UK government's apology, currently included under the "Legacy" heading, would seem to fit better under the heading specifically addressing Turing's indecency conviction, "Conviction for gross indecency". Does anyone have any objection to it being moved? HiLo48 (talk) 22:44, 31 October 2009 (UTC)