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Alan Turing's "hidden" manuscript heads to auction

Alan Turing's "hidden" manuscr...
In the notebook, Turing reportedly "works on the foundations of mathematical notation and computer science"
In the notebook, Turing reportedly "works on the foundations of mathematical notation and computer science"
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In the notebook, Turing reportedly "works on the foundations of mathematical notation and computer science"
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In the notebook, Turing reportedly "works on the foundations of mathematical notation and computer science"
This passage reads: "The Leibniz notation dx/dy I find extremely difficult to understand in spite of it having been the one I understood the best once! It certainly implies that some relation between x and y has been laid down eg, y=x2+3x"
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This passage reads: "The Leibniz notation dx/dy I find extremely difficult to understand in spite of it having been the one I understood the best once! It certainly implies that some relation between x and y has been laid down eg, y=x2+3x"

Among his many achievements, British computer science pioneer Alan Turing created one of the first theoretical models of a general-purpose computer, helped develop the concept of artificial intelligence, and was in charge of breaking the German Enigma cypher during World War II. With the recent release of the film The Imitation Game, he's now becoming known to a whole new generation. It's only fitting, therefore, that a rare collection of his scientific notes is about to head to auction.

The handwritten notes are contained within 56 pages of a notebook, which has never been seen by the public. Judging by its content, it dates from 1942, at which time Turing was working on cracking the Enigma code at Bletchley Park north of London.

This passage reads: "The Leibniz notation dx/dy I find extremely difficult to understand in spite of it having been the one I understood the best once! It certainly implies that some relation between x and y has been laid down eg, y=x2+3x"
This passage reads: "The Leibniz notation dx/dy I find extremely difficult to understand in spite of it having been the one I understood the best once! It certainly implies that some relation between x and y has been laid down eg, y=x2+3x"

The book was part of a collection of papers that he left in his will to mathematician Robin Gandy, who was one of his close friends. Gandy proceeded to donate most of those papers to the Archive Center at King's College, Cambridge in 1977. He held onto the notebook, however, and used the blank pages in the middle to keep what is described as an "intensely personal" dream journal.

No doubt due to that personal content, the book remained amongst Gandy's possessions until his death in 1995 – hopefully he'd be OK with people reading it now.

The notebook is due to be auctioned at Bonhams Fine Books & Manuscripts in New York on April 13th and is expected to fetch at least seven figures, a portion of which will go to charity. According to Bonhams, "it is almost certainly the only extensive autograph manuscript by Turing in existence."

Source: Bonhams

4 comments
Peter Kelly
Sorry, but Alan Turing was not in charge, even though he was most certainly instrumental in breaking the code.
Keith Reeder
He was the lead on the team that did it, and initially took it on personally because nobody else what working on it. So yes, in practical terms, he WAS "in charge".
Peter Kelly
Er, no. Being in charge and leading a team are two, albeit similar, but different things. To repeat, Alan Turing was pivotal in the success of breaking the code, but the article needs to be edited to properly reflect the true position.
Don Duncan
"until his death...hopefully he'll be of with..." He doesn't exist anymore. Whatever his wishes, they are irrelevant now. I don't "honor" the wishes of the non-existent and I despair at the irrational emotionalism of those who do.