So, let’s get you up to speed, in case you don’t know how to use Wikipedia: Alan Turing was the father of computer science. Before computers even existed, he was writing chess programs, hypothesizing about AI, and – on top of it all – decoding the Nazi Enigma and saving us all from the German menace during WWII.
In the early 1950s, the British government chemically castrated Turing – Turing the genius, Turing the war hero – for being homosexual. Shortly thereafter, Turing committed suicide at the age of 41.
Chris Merritt’s recently released album features a final track about Turing’s life, work, and decline.
I’ve been obsessed with the man for a while. I first read about him in other physics literature, specifically referring to his (most important) work on computable numbers. Lately I’ve been reading specifically about his papers and achievements, his stranger-than-fiction adventures cracking the Nazi Germany’s Enigma Machine (which, arguably, saved more lives than any single act in World War II), his superhuman-like foresight into the idea of a computer and A.I., and his incredibly tragic last years. I thought the human drama contrasted with the logical and mathematical genius of Turing would make an interesting song, and also feed my strange hunger to write music about important physics.