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obituary quotations

“It was a great loss to natural science as well as to mathematics when, on June 8, at the age of 41, he was found dead in his house at Wilmslow in Chesire.” — Kings Report 1954 [No mention of his wartime achievements, of his sexuality, or of suicide.]

“Turing took a particular delight in problems, large or small, that enabled him to combine mathematical theory with experiments he could carry out, in whole or part, with his own hands. He was ready to tackle anything which combined these two interests. His comical but brilliantly apt analogies with which he explained his ideas made him a delightful companion.” — DR ALAN TURING An Appreciation, Manchester Guardian 11 June 1954

“For those who knew him here [at Sherborne] the memory is of an even-tempered, lovable character with an impish sense of humour and a modesty proof against all achievement. You would not take him for a Wrangler, the youngest Fellow of King’s and the youngest F.R.S. [Fellow of the Royal Society], or as a Marathon runner, or that behind a negligé appearance he was intensely practical. Rather you recollected him as one who buttered his porridge, brewed scientific concoctions in his study, suspended a weighted string from the staircase wall and set it swinging before Chapel to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth by its change of direction by noon, produced proofs of the postulates of Euclid, or brought bottles of imprisoned flies to study their “decadence” by inbreeding. On holidays in Cornwall or Sark he was a lively companion even to the extent of mixed bathing at midnight. During the war he was engaged in breaking down enemy codes, and had under him a regiment of girls, supervised to his amusement by a dragon of a female. His work was hush-hush, not to be divulged even to his mother. For it he was awarded the O.B.E. He also adopted a yound Jewish refugee and saw him through his education. Besides long distance running, his hobbies were gardening and chess; and occasionally realistic water-colour painting.

In all his preoccupation with logic, mathematics, and science he never lost the common touch; in a short life he accomplished much, and to the roll of great names in the history of his particular studies added his own.” — The Sherbornian, Summer Term 1954