A scientific notebook compiled by World War Two codebreaker and computer science pioneer Alan Turing has sold for $1.025 million in New York, the BBC reports.
The recently discovered notebook in Turing’s own hand dates from 1942 when Turing was working to break the Nazi Enigma code at Bletchley Park. It is believed to be the only extensive Turing manuscript in existence.
It features 56 pages of notes on the foundations of computer science. Turing entrusted the document to mathematician Robin Gandy.
“Alan Turing was parsimonious with his words and everything from his pen has special value,” scholar Andrew Hodges told the BBC.
“This notebook shines extra light on how, even when he was enmeshed in great world events, he remained committed to free-thinking work in pure mathematics.”
Turing is believed to have committed suicide in 1954, although in recent years some accounts have attributed his death to an accident.
The story of his life was the subject of last year’s Oscar-winning film The Imitation Game, although that, too, has been the subject of controversy, with some commentators criticising the movie for being historically inaccurate. See, Movie adds insult to injury in the Turing story.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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