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Collection of Letters By Codebreaker Alan Turing Found in Filing Cabinet


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Some of the newly discovered Turing correspondence.

Researchers discovered a cache of letters from Alan Turing in an old filing cabinet at the University of Manchester.

Credit: Handout

A lost collection of nearly 150 letters from the codebreaker Alan Turing has been uncovered in an old filing cabinet at the University of Manchester.

The correspondence, which has not seen the light of day for at least 30 years, contains very little about Turing's tortured personal life. It does, however, give an intriguing insight into his views on America.

In response to an invitation to speak at a conference in the US in April 1953, Turing replied that he would rather not attend: "I would not like the journey, and I detest America."

The letter, sent to Donald Mackay, a physicist at King's College London, does not give any further explanation for Turing's forthright views on America, nor do these views feature in any of the other 147 letters discovered earlier this year.

The correspondence, dating from early 1949 to Turing's death in 1954, was found by chance when an academic cleared out an old filing cabinet in a storeroom at the University of Manchester. Turing was deputy director of the university's computing laboratory from 1948, after his heroic wartime codebreaking at Bletchley Park.

 

From The Guardian


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