Alan Turing

Alan Turing

The Enigma

By Andrew Hodges; Douglas Hofstadter (Foreword by)

Princeton University Press, Paperback, 9780691155647, 586pp.

Publication Date: May 27, 2012


It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This classic biography of the founder of computer science, reissued on the centenary of his birth with a substantial new preface by the author, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life. A gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution, Andrew Hodges's acclaimed book captures both the inner and outer drama of Turing's life.

Hodges tells how Turing's revolutionary idea of 1936--the concept of a universal machine--laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing's leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic story of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program--all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.

About the Author
Andrew Hodges is a Senior Research Fellow in the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford, and a Tutor in Mathematics at Wadham College, Oxford. His main research interest is in the mathematics of fundamental physics, but he is perhaps best known as the author of Alan Turing: The Enigma (1983). This book has been dramatised for stage and television, and most recently inspired the highly successful film The Imitation Game (2014).

Douglas Richard Hofstadter est un universitaire americain, connu surtout pour son ouvrage "Godel, Escher, Bach", publie en 1979 et qui obtint le Prix Pulitzer en 1980. Il est actuellement professeur de sciences cognitives et d'informatique, professeur adjoint d'histoire et de philosophie des sciences, philosophie, litterature comparee et psychologie a l'universite de l'Indiana a Bloomington, ou il dirige le Centre de Recherche sur les Concepts et la Cognition. Hofstadter est multilingue: il parle italien, anglais, francais, allemand et partiellement russe. Dans son ouvrage "Le Ton beau de Marot", il se decrit comme etant -pi-lingue- (sachant parler 3,14 langues) quoique -oligoglot- (parlant peu de langues). Ses domaines d'interet comprennent les sujets relatifs a l'esprit, la creativite, la conscience, la reference a soi-meme, la traduction et les jeux mathematiques.