[FOM] [ATY] Alan Turing Year update, February 2011

S Barry Cooper pmt6sbc at maths.leeds.ac.uk
Fri Feb 25 14:19:38 EST 2011

Dear All

1) We delayed the latest ATY update to take in the press release from
Bletchley Park, embargoed until just after midnight this morning. Exciting
news, with the Max Newman collection of Alan Turing's papers, variously
signed by Turing, saved for display at Bletchley Park:


Seems the behind the scenes negotiations have been going on since the end
of last year. A key figure in raising the necessary funding was Dame Jenny
Abramsky from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, who is not unknown to
certain members of the Turing Centenary Advisory Committee!

2) Seems the plans for re-publishing the biography of Alan Turing by his
mother Sara are progressing nicely - more news on this soon, hopefully.
There is even a Spanish translation in prospect. These developments have
the approval of key members of the Turing family. And Sir John Dermot
Turing (Honorary President of the Turing Centenary Advisory Committee) is
making himself available for selected ATY events, as they fit with his
busy schedule.

Btw, it is worth looking at the YouTube film of the opening of the Alan
Turing Building at the Open University:


- about 7 minutes into the film is a brief but superb contribution from
Dermot, reading from some writings of his father (Alan's brother) John
Turing. It is hoped to include a fuller version of these unpublished
writings in the new edition of Sara Turing's book. A fascinating glimpse
of Alan and the times he lived in.

3) USA news: Plans for a "Challenging Turing" event at Stanford University
in California in September 2012 are going nicely. There is already a
webpage under construction:


Also, a logic meeting in Florida in January 2012:


a highlight being a talk by David Leavitt, author of 'The Man Who Knew Too
Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer'. Here's the New York
Times review of the book:


Other events brewing include a special ACM Turing Award ceremony in San
Francisco around the time of the June anniversary, and day meeting at
Princeton, where Turing worked with Alonzo Church in the late 1930s. And a
Boston event, not confirmed yet.

4) I guess most people know Turing was close being selected to run in the
1948 Olympic marathon, having run an amazing 2 hour 46 minute time. There
is an ongoing campaign by John Graham-Cumming (who organised the petition
leading to Gordon Brown's apology on behalf of the UK Government for the
appalling treatment of Turing just before his death) to have the 2012
Olympic marathon as an occasion to honour Turing's memory.

What has just been confirmed is that the Ely Runners will hold their 100th
Alan Turing Anniversary Year 'Turing Trail Relay' as an open event on
Sunday 18th March 2012. The 2012 race will start and finish outside Ely
Cathedral, and follow the?t Ouse?nd Cam riverside routes to Cambridge used
for training by Alan Turing.

5) We are still trying to get hold of the BBC film of 'Breaking the Code'
for showing in 2011. It seems the BBC no longer have the rights. But
producer Jack Emery has a 'Producer's Cut' version, restoring the cuts
insisted on by the BBC, and you can see details at:


In late January, Patrick Sammon went public with his making of a new
documentary about the life, death, and legacy of Alan Turing. The trailer
released looks great, plan is to release it in mid-2012:


6) Some fantastic news on funding for special Alan Turing Year Events. The
John Templeton Foundation has given a grant of around a million pounds for
an ambitious Turing Centenary meeting in Manchester, held at the City
Hall, and featuring a number of Turing Award winners; as well as (and this
is what most of the money will go on) an exciting research grant
competition for younger researchers, with prizes funding a 3-year
programme of research around deep and intractable problems relating to
computability, artificial intelligence, morphogenesis, and other parts of
the Turing scientific legacy.

And this is not all. The Templeton is also funding a unique event at the
Royal Society International Centre at Chicheley Hall, focusing on another
key Turing topic "The Incomputable":


'The Incomputable' is part of a 6-month Newton Institute program in
Cambridge honouring Turing.

7) Finally - just this week, we hear that "The House of Commons Science
and Technology Committee has recommended the Government's new Technology
and Innovation Centres (TICs) be named after Alan Turing." See:


There are many more items to report, but this email is already too long.
More to follow soon!

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