Today, on the anniversary of Alan Turing‘s death (7 June 1954), I thought I should mention a couple of books about his life and work that I think are worth reading.
How did computers take over the world? From the lowliest iPhone app to Google’s sprawling metazoan codes, we live in a world of self-replicating numbers and self-reproducing machines. This title re-creates the experimentation, mathematical insight and creative genius that led to the dawn of the digital universe.
This book by George Dyson was published in 2012, but I wasn’t aware of it until I watched his latest lecture at the Long Now foundation. (Click here for the seminar primer.)
If you’re fast, you can still view the lecture at fora.tv. I don’t know how long they leave it up, but it’s certainly not forever as this content is normally only available to “Long Now” members (which, I am proud to say, I am.) If that link doesn’t work, you can download the audio of the lecture from the foundation’s podcast, which is also available on iTunes.
I just noticed: by coincidence, this book arrived today.
Alan Turing: His Work and Impact
Gives coverage of the many ways in which Alan Turing’s scientific endeavors have impacted research and understanding of the world. Suitable for researchers, this title also offers an approachable entry point for readers with limited training in the science, but an urge to learn more about the details of Turing’s work.
This is a big, dense book! The index, alone, is 35 pages. It’s also relatively expensive, which I put down to (a) it being an Elsevier book and (b) a collection of essays which, I suppose, is its own copyright hell. This book’s been on my wishlist long before it was available for pre-order, so I’m really happy to have it on my desk.
Professor Daniel C. Dennett (my favorite philosopher) is one of the contributors – which is how I actually found out about this book: I keep an eye on the professor’s bibliography so I don’t miss anything.