Alan Turing #atozchallenge

Watching ‘The Imitation Game’ starring Bennedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, a mathematician and computer scientist, was a phenomenal experience. I really enjoy stories on secret missions and conspiracy theories. This one’s is on a true story- a declassified government secret that helped the Allied Nations defeat Germany in the World War II.

During the Second World War, Alan Turing and a few others were chosen from the whole country of Britain, to work on deciphering encrypted German messages from the radio signals. The Germans used a machine called Enigma to send their secret signals to the U boats in war. To a person not familiar with the everyday changing settings of the machine, the signals sounded gibberish. It was considered almost unbreakable, and this team at Britain’s code breaking centre at Bletchley Park labored every day to work through each of its millions of possible settings and decode at least one message. Alan Turing was the first to think of, design, and implement a machine that could find the settings for Enigma. This machine initially named Christopher, was able to crack every coded message from the Germans, and thus helped the Allies to strategize and defeat the Nazis. According to estimates, it reduced the war by two to four years.

I found Alan Turing’s story very inspirational and very motivating. “Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of, do the things that no one can imagine.” Not so popular in school, or college, and considered a bit arrogant too, not-so-social Alan grew up to be one of the greatest scientists of the century, with one of the biggest contribution to the world. When no one believed that his machine could work, and government funding was reaching deadlines, he ardently believed in it and never gave up, even in the worst of circumstances.

In later life he was prosecuted for being homosexual, which was then considered ‘grave indecency’ and was criminalized as per the law in Britain. He had to undergo medication- chemical castration, as the only alternative to prison. He died after a year, due to cyanide poisoning, possibly suicide. His contribution in World War II was then a classified government secret; he was moved to depression and death by the inhuman laws of the land, he had worked so relentlessly for. We would have come to know of so many more miracles had this man walked the surface of earth just a few years more.

In 2009, Alan Turing was posthumously offered an official public apology by the British government; pardoned in 2013 by Queen Elizabeth II; and was recognized and honored for his invaluable contribution in the war. Wikipedia

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