On June 23rd, 1912, Alan Mathison Turing was born as the second and last child of Julius Mathison Turing and Ethel Sara Stoney in Maida Vale, London. From a young age, Turing was academically gifted, but not in the way that the public education curriculum at the time had required. He would be rebuked for having poor handwriting and he faced difficulty with English in school. In his math and science classes, despite winning many awards in competitions and designing genius experiments of his own design from a very tender age, his teachers would not like the way he disregarded the school’s agenda to instead follow his own approach when solving problems. He was criticized for falling behind in his classes but was anything but slow or unintelligent. He roamed in the direction of his own path by the direction of his creativity.
Turing would often be alone in and out of school, dedicating most of his time to learning about the physical world through the papers of famous scientists like Einstein. Even as he grew into an adult, his peers and colleagues would describe him as antisocial and even a bit peculiar, not exactly doing things in the conventional manner as others would expect. Using anecdotes of his behavior throughout his life, psychologists have found that he had met all six bullets of Gillberg’s criteria for Asperger’s. One of the few people he had found solace in was Christopher Morcom, a young man who attended the same school and was equally as fond of the sciences as Turing was. However, Morcom died of tuberculosis before enrolling in college, leaving Turing heartbroken. Many speculate from notes in his diary that Turing had romantic feelings for him.
Turing went on to accomplish many things in his life. During World War II, he found work at Bletchley Park, the center of code-deciphering among the Allied forces to break apart the secret codes used by the Axis powers. During his time there, Turing created the British Bombe, a device that translated code from the enemy’s communication system into spoken German language, which significantly helped save his country during the war. Turing also laid the groundwork for what is known as artificial intelligence in modern-day, inspiring the engineering of modern-day computers.
Turing was arrested unfairly in 1952 for having a relationship with another man because the law at the time outlawed homosexuality. He was removed from doing the work that he loved and had to endure harsh treatment from society and the government. It was only in 2009 that the government formally apologized for the injustice that Turing was put through, several decades after his death. Turing is an important figure for all today not only as an intelligent individual on the spectrum who overcame the challenges placed in his path and brought about major success in his life but also as a symbol that the world needs more inclusion. He is both a bright inspiration and a serious reminder of this perpetual goal
By Promi Chakraborty