alan turing


imagine coming to work and attempting to solve a code that has 15 Quintilian possible combinations that’s a 15 with eighteen zeros behind it and that same code changes every 24 hours so the work that you have done on that day effectively becomes useless. imagine having the opportunity to save thousands of life’s and having to say no.  imagine coming to work and having to hide who you really are .well mathematician and code breaker Alan Turing had to face all of these.  :46


enigma is a Nazi machine used to encode there communications with multiple setting’s that can be used.  this is one of the machines that Alan Turing was  asked to solve as it was classified as something essential to be solved.  the Nazis used there code for anything from weather reports to direct orders from  Hitler himself as the Nazis considered the code unsolvable. Turing’s brilliance was first displayed in 1940 when  he adapted  a polish machine to create a anti-enigma machine called a bombe and in 1943 they were cracking 84,000 enigma messages per month. turning was personally responsible for solving a more complex form of enigma being used by the u-boats that at the time were blocking and sinking the merchant convoys. as Winston Churchill later quoted “the only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril” which shows just how crucial solving the code was.

okay so if we imagine  then we just solved enigma and got a message stating this “the locations of the German subs  is 57 23 ” and you knew that  your countries boats were traveling through that area what would you do.  celebrate solving the code. send a message to them,  tell the head of your area? while all of these seem logical Alan Turing saw the best solution. that being, do nothing. let that crew die. I know what your thinking why would they do that. simple if the British dogged every obstacle then it would be clear that the Nazis unbreakable code had been broken and the Germans would just change protocol and it would all become useless.  and your opportunity to save millions has just been wasted. but of course they did save millions but they had to be smart about it . so Alan Turing came up with a equation that  would calculate the maximum amount of lives that could be saved without letting the Germans suspect well as this he had to convince his peers and leaders that it had to be secret. this approach has been credited with saving 14 million lives and reducing the length of the war by 2 years.Alan knowingly  wrote of thousands with out without a moments hesitation when he fully under stood the repercussions  of this discovery. his fast thoughts under his own mental pressure that he placed upon himself resulted in the long term with millions of lives saved. but as well as keeping it quite immediately it was also something that Alan had to take to the grave as it was of such huge significance. he could share it with no one bar the few that already knew which must of made it very difficult to deal with. but Alan’s persevered  well out side of his comfort zone . and ultimately led to the end of the war  which we can all be happy about. so if you think about it “sacrifice a few to save millions.”

as well as cracking secret codes he had his own secret. Alan turning was gay. in the time that Alan truing lived in Britain homosexuality was illegal and considered a threat to national security.  so through all of his struggles he had to keep the secret.  but in 1952 he was convicted with gross indices with another man.  in court he was found guilty and given the  choice between prison or hormonal treatment. he chose hormonal treatment and endured a full year of horrible treatment. hormone treatment or chemical castration is used to reduce or eliminate ones sexual drive because at the time being gay was treated as a mental illness. the British at the time believed that they could  cure gay men with chemical castration, which of course they couldn’t. and of course there were side effects. in Alan Turing case he experienced side effects of a bloated physique and breast enlargement. 2 years later after going through the medication he was found dead and a post-Mortem examination determined that the cause of his death was cyanide poisoning. his body was found next to a half eaten apple so it is speculated to be the way he committed suicide. so while he did all of his incredible work on the war he had to keep his homosexuality a secret which must have stressed him and forced him out of his comfort zone quite a lot.  but after his war efforts he was kept under extremely high security due to the secrets he and his colleges held. due to this higher surveillance he was under significantly more pressure then before to keep his homosexuality a secret. this is surely must have been something playing on his mind before he committed suicide.


Alan Turing’s systematic approaches significantly effected the path of humanity with solving the Nazi code allowing the allied forces to know exactly what will be happening but then his mental strength to deal with keeping his achievement secret and resulting with thousands of deaths that he consciously wrote off to save 14 million lives and shorten the war by 2 years. all while hiding that he was gay. this determination and utter genius ultimately changed the world forever. and for his whole short life he was considered a nobody and driven mad by his own government he committed suicide.  “sometimes it is the people that no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine”. this is a quote from Alan Turing referring to himself and how despite the world thought that he couldn’t change  the world,  his unique way of thinking  changed the world in ways no one could imagine. the mental challenges that he faced like dealing with allowing people to die as well as keeping his homosexuality a secret must have certainly been a constant struggle for him during some of the tougher times in his life. this genius revolutionized the world in ways they couldn’t imagine. and if we had learnt to accept his differences who  knows were the world would be now. this story teaches us to accept all people no matter there differences because as far as you know that persons about to change the world in ways you can not Imagine.


3 Replies to “alan turing”

  1. A good speech topic, Laurie! Also, well done for completing a good amount of research for this unit of work. Just to clarify that it is Alan Turing not “Turning” 🙂 Also, consider the order of your points (as outlined in your introduction). I.e. You outline Turing’s mathematical challenges, then his personal challenges, then his challenge to save human lives in World War Two. Is this the most effective order? Consider commonalities in your information across points and how ideas may logically progress into others. Keep working on this speechwriting this week. You have additional lessons because you have been away.

  2. In our discussion today, Laurie, we identified the need to explain your third point. I.e. Is it clear how Alan’s treatment affected him?

    Also, don’t rush in your conclusion: make sure the lessons that the class can learn from this man’s life are clear.

  3. Laurie, your evidence about Alan Turing’s influential acts is good; you do need to include your own conclusions throughout your speech about what this evidence teaches us (the audience). Remember, this speech assessment requires you to outline how an individual stepped “outside of their comfort zone” and then explain how these acts can relate to us: teach us valuable lessons, challenge us, or connect to us in some way. This latter part is essential to meet the task. See whether you can include your own additional findings in this way.

Respond now!