Saturday 26 July 2014

Turing takes over the world

Or so it seems at least.

This week has been a whirlwind of Alan Turing related activities - it is all so exciting.

It started with the announcement that the Benedict Cumberbatch movie, The Imitation Game, will open the London film Festival:

Wow! That is just super exciting. I have even been in contact with one of the producers at Black Bear Productions about a special family screening and other exciting film events.

And then I also discovered (via The Turing Years twitter feed, run by the wonderful and incredibly busy Prof Barry Cooper) that the Pet Shop Boys were performing a new Turing-inspired piece of music. Further investigation revealed that it was an opera which was being premiered at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. Wow.

Wednesday evening involved me rushing across London, expecting to stand in a queue for a couple of hours in the hope of getting a "promming" ticket (standing in the arena or gallery). Instead, I was incredibly lucky and managed to buy a returned ticket from the box office.

It's hard to explain the feeling. I grew up being told by my mother that my great uncle had done amazing things and was the father of modern computing, but almost no one had heard of him. Then here I was with around 1500 people (very rough estimate) and a much larger number listening to the live broadcast, witnessing a performance all about his life. Crazy.

The opera/musical biography "A Man For the Future" was pretty special. It combined a full orchestra, the electronic musical style of the Pet Shop Boys, choral singing and a narrator speaking over the music. It focused on his work in WWII and his struggles with authority over his sexuality, hinting at some of his other academic successes and genius.

In other Turing news, there are plays and tribute artwork popping up all over the place. The Duchess of Cambridge visited Bletchley Park (WWII code breaking central) last month too. I can barely keep up!