Alan Turing
Alan Turing and the Turing family

Alan Turing was born into a traditional British Empire family: his father worked in the Indian Civil Service, and his brother John (Dermot Turing’s father) was born in India. Alan, however, was born in England and never visited India.

Alan Turing with his mother and brother on a beach on the South Coast of England 1913
Alan Turing with his mother and brother on a beach on the South Coast of England in 1913

Alan Turing’s career took off when, while still a graduate student at King’s College Cambridge, he wrote his most famous paper, On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem. This paper is widely regarded as laying the theoretical foundations of computer science, a field in which Alan continued to work actively for the rest of his life.

He is probably best known for his work at Bletchley Park during World War 2, where he was a leading member of the team solving the many problems posed by the German Enigma enciphering machine, made famous by the movie The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

After Bletchley, Alan Turing worked on computer design at the National Physical Laboratory and then at Manchester University. His final field of research was on the growth and development of living things.

Find out more in Dermot’s biography of his uncle, PROF – Alan Turing decoded.