It’s been a great year for fans of Alan Turing. Celebrations of his birth centenary have reached a fevered pitch this week, if the list of events posted on http://www.mathcomp.leeds.ac.uk/turing2012/ is anything to go by.
I would have loved to attend some of the celebrations, but they have come at a difficult time of the UK academic calendar with exams and exam boards happening all over. Hopefully I can finally go to Bletchley Park over this summer and see the location of his great contribution to the end of World War II–not by brawn but by pure intellectual genius.
My small contribution to the Turing celebration was a talk I gave yesterday, on work done by Turing on morphogenesis and the continuing impact of his paper. Slides enclosed. Turing’s paper did leave a tantalizing reference to his next paper on phyllotaxis, and we were left wondering if Turing had done any work on the shaping of flowers and if any of this was also followed up. There was a comment in the audience that Turing did have a PhD student working on this problem, but I can’t recall the mentioned name of this student.
I hope there is a legacy to this Turing Year: not only in remembering the life of this amazing guy, but also in able to explain to the general population the concept of Computer Science and the contribution it has on our lives.