Alan Turing

by Arnav Swami from San Diego, California in United States

A hero is one that takes action to make the world a better place for everyone. More specifically, a hero must be able to light a chain reaction and be a leader for everyone to follow. Lighting a chain reaction means being able to start something which makes everyone try and replicate what the hero has started. A hero can be many things, but all heroes possess one thing: which is working through adversities to make the world a better place. One example of him showing heroic traits is when Turing was a World War II mathematician and code breaker. He deciphered codes for the British to follow, and he eventually was able to uncover the German war strategies. Furthermore, he shortened the war and saved many lives with his intelligence gathering work at Bletchley Park, the headquarters for British code breakers during the war. His amazing actions contributed to a new era of computer intelligence and data manipulation, fields of which are still being applied in the modern era. This also shows why he is considered the father of modern computer science. His work in this area enriched the knowledge of what computers were capable of doing and his work on cracking the Enigma code showed inspiration for a generation of computer scientists to come. A hero must possess bravery and determination to solve a problem that is going on in our world. A hero is one that takes action to make the world a better place for everyone. Though, a hero must specifically be able to light a chain reaction and be a leader for everyone to follow. Lighting a chain reaction means being able to start something which makes everyone try and replicate what the hero has started. This is what the essence of what a hero is : a person who is not a follower but a doer. Alan Turing possesses the quality of both being a lifesaver and being the father of computer science. These qualities are what makes Alan Turing a true hero.

Alan Turing is considered to be a man ahead of his time and the initiator of the era in modern computer science. He was extremely intelligent and single minded in his quest of trailblazing what was possible with mathematics and computer science. He eventually applied his knowledge to break the Enigma code. Enigma was the German encryption machine that allowed them to send secret coded messages which was used by the German U-boats to plan and attack the Allied navy and merchant ships that were resupplying the British troops. The U-Boats which were submarines were destroying the allied shipping lanes and crippling the British actions during WWII. Turing built the code-breaking machine which let the British figure out the location of the German U-Boats/Submarines. This shows his heroism of being a pioneer for a new era of modern computer science as well as the one who used this knowledge for the good of mankind during the war.“Turing's contribution to the effort at Bletchley Park was indispensable. Not only did he make the first breakthroughs with the Naval Enigma code, allowing Britain's food and supplies to be shipped across the Atlantic, but, along with Gordon Welchman, designed a machine to break the Enigma. This code breaking machine was called the Bombe, a name chosen to honour the earlier Polish code breaking machine called Bomba. The Bombe worked using the mathematical principle of contradiction. Given an Enigma code, the code breakers would try and guess a short phrase, or 'crib', that might appear in the message”(James Grime “What Did Turing Do for Us?”). Turing’s contribution to the war effort was priceless. The algorithms and the way he was able to provide support to the team shows his intelligence. As a man ahead of his time, he was able to crack the Enigma Code which in sense had been made by the Enigma encryption machine to send messages between the Germans themselves. Alan Turing was able to provide  to other countries against the Germans in solving problems that other countries couldn’t solve. He provided real knowledge to other countries which needed assistance protecting themselves from the Germans. Germans had cranked up the difficulty on their codes and the fact that Alan Turing was able to solve them showed his support towards other countries and his overall intelligence in the area of computer science. “Although Polish mathematicians had worked out how to read Enigma messages and had shared this information with the British, the Germans increased its security at the outbreak of war by changing the cipher system daily. This made the task of understanding the code even more difficult. Turing played a key role in this, inventing – along with fellow code-breaker Gordon Welchman – a machine known as the Bombe. This device helped to significantly reduce the work of the code-breakers. From mid-1940, German Air Force signals were being read at Bletchley and the intelligence gained from them was helping the war effort”(Imperial War Museums “How Alan Turing Cracked The Enigma Code”). Alan Turing played a major role in this area of providing support and knowledge and if it weren’t for his superior intelligence, the code might not have been cracked. His knowledge and determination guided him to success as in the end, he was able to break the Enigma codes along with other countries alongside him. His work also led him to designing some of the first electronically operated computers that were able to do things for people. If it weren’t for him, the designs of modern computers would not have arrived and countries would not be where they are today in terms of technology. In conclusion, Alan Turing was the father of a now modern era of computers and if it weren’t for him, not only would the world not be where it is today, the war might have been longer than we know of it today which is why he is considered a hero.

As a true hero, Alan Turing was able to save many lives thus shortening the war by many years and keeping other countries safe from German weaponry. His most extraordinary achievement for humanity was saving other countries from the havoc that the Germans were causing during the war. Alan Turing did this by building the encryption machine that would forever change the track of World War II. His discoveries were truly impressive and we would not be anywhere as close as we are if it weren’t for him. “German U-boats were inflicting heavy losses on Allied shipping and the need to understand their signals was crucial. With the help of captured Enigma material, and Turing’s work in developing a technique he called 'Banburismus', the naval Enigma messages were able to be read from 1941”(Imperial War Museums “How Alan Turing Cracked The Enigma Code”). Alan Turing was able to use his mathematical equations that he gave for the computer to solve what the Germans were saying through the Enigma codes. Turing’s work in this area was indispensable because he was the one that was holding the chain between life and death for people who were fighting out in the Atlantic. This proves the importance of his work for the British people of the time. Alan Turing was also a lifesaver throughout the war. He not only was the one who saved lives, but was also the one who was able to find the patterns of what the Germans were doing. Using these patterns, he was able to make some remarkable discoveries in sense reducing the duration of the war and reducing the sacrifice of human lives. “Turing’s breakthrough came from observing that morning U-boat communications included a weather report, a pattern to be exploited. He then built a gargantuan machine that could quickly sort through millions of possibilities to divine the code. The first of many, the device set the stage for a massive computing operation that would eventually crack up to two messages a minute”(The New York Times “World War II's Greatest Hero: The True Story of Alan Turing.”). Alan Turing made many contributions to the war; most importantly, finding the pattern which the Germans were using. Alan Turing found the flaw in the Enigma code which was the secret code which the Germans were using to send messages within themselves. Finding the flaw would allow them to track down the Germans and wherever they were set in any area of the Atlantic. Being able to uncover this would mean that the U-Boats wouldn’t be much of a threat to the British and they could be in peace from having their goods being sunk in the ocean. This was all thanks to Alan Turing as he was able to break everything down thus saving millions of lives, allowing the U-Boats to be less of a threat, and by all accounts it shortened the war by many years.

In conclusion, Alan Turing was a genius and a computer science pioneer who would forever be known for being a lifesaver to the millions of Britishers. He was able to crack the code and improve technology which blazed trials for future people to follow in his shoes. His work in the area of computer science was priceless considering that WWII was reigning terror among the British with its U-Boats. Now thanks to Alan Turing, Britain was able to keep themselves safe from the hands of the U-Boats and make the war shorter. His work on cracking the Enigma code was truly revolutionary which began the era for which modern computer sciences and algorithms are based on. “Turing's legacy is huge. We live in a world full of computers, thanks to the work of Alan Turing. There have been many accolades and tributes to Turing since his death. Since 1966 the Turing award has been given annually by the Association for Computing Machinery, widely considered as equivalent to the Nobel Prize for computing. In Manchester's Sackville Park there is a statue of Turing sitting on a bench, titled 'Father of Computer Science'”(James Grime What Did Turing Do for Us?). His legacy is huge and we live in a world of technology and computers and our world has only been growing since then and he is an inspiration to the future of humanity to keep growing and building off of what he started and keep making technology more advanced as time passes. His work too shows to be inspirational to others as his work was way ahead of his time period and it also shows since we have come such a long way since his time of being alive. In the end, he was an amazing person with a big mind for innovation and saving many lives. Alan Turing contains these characteristics which is why he is considered a true hero.

Works Consulted

Alan M. Turing." Computer Sciences, edited by K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, 2nd ed., Macmillan Reference USA, 2013. Biography In Context, .

Alan M. Turing." World of Invention, Gale, 2006. Biography In Context,

Alan Turing." Notable Scientists from 1900 to the Present, edited by Brigham Narins, Gale, 2008. Biography In Context,

How Alan Turing Cracked The Enigma Code.” Imperial War Museums, Imperial War     Mueseum, 5 Jan. 2018,

What Did Turing Do for Us?” What Did Turing Do for Us?, James Grime, Feb. 2012,

World War II's Greatest Hero: The True Story of Alan Turing” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Feb. 2015,

Alan M. Turing." World of Invention, Gale, 2006. Biography In Context,

Page created on 4/18/2018 6:26:34 PM

Last edited 6/25/2021 6:16:20 PM

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