The Emotions of Alan Turing: The Boy Who Explained Einstein's Theory of Relativity Aged 15½ for his Mother

The Emotions of Alan Turing: The Boy Who Explained Einstein's Theory of Relativity Aged 15½ for his Mother

Huma Shah (Systems Engineering, University of Reading, Reading, UK)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/ijse.2014010104


This paper makes no apology for its reading like a collection of book reports. It draws mainly on the reminiscences of Sara and John Turing, Alan Turing's mother and elder brother respectively, as well as from Andrew Hodges' extensive research on the man, his work and his impact gathered for the definitive Alan Turing biography. Alan Turing was a complex, talented man bereft of one stable and loyal companion throughout his life. He was the boy who explained Einstein's Theory of Relativity aged 15½ for his mother and the tormented outcast who gave us the modern world (Sunday Times, 2011).
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The Emotions Of Alan Turing

Alan Turing is rightly placed by Time Magazine as one of the ‘100 most important scientists and thinkers’ of the last century (Time magazine, 1999). His reach is well into this, the 21st century. Turing lived to understand the human brain, its thought processes and launching the science of engineering a machine to think. He died an emotionally complex and psychologically wounded man. As a child, he had “an extraordinary gift for winning the affection of maids and landladies” (Sara Turing, 2012). As an adult, he was unpretentious, at times moody; he could be generous to his own detriment – the instance of lending money to Arnold Murray, the acquaintance and lover who brought about the burglary and Alan’s downfall (Hodges, 1992; John Turing, 2012). Alan Turing could also leave a grown man in tears (his research student Robin Gandy) through criticism (Hodges, 1992). A scientist with a good sense of humour Alan cared little about how his sporadic scruffy appearance might seem to others (John Turing, 2012).

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