Alan Turing

British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing led a group of other brilliant codebreakers, including Joan Clarke, at Bletchley Park outside London during WWII to crack the German’s Enigma code.

One of his biographers, professor S. Barry Cooper, writes that Turing “was a strange man, who never felt at ease in any place…He randomly adopted some conventions of his class, but rejected with no regret and hesitation most of their habits and ideas.

“It is still very common for geekishly irritating little boys and girls to suffer misunderstanding and routine bullying at school. Nowadays Alan would probably have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.”

Cognitive researcher Jon Brock comments about a posthumous diagnosis:

“In a 2003 paper, Henry O’Connell and Michael Fitzgerald trawled through Turing’s biography, looking for anecdotes and descriptions of Turing that would support a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome.

“The authors used the Gillberg criteria for Asperger syndrome – a set of six “symptoms” that must all be present for a diagnosis to be conferred. Turing, they concluded, met all six criteria…”

[Photo from article: What Did Turing Establish About the Limits of Computers and the Nature of Mathematics?]

See more quotes, links to multiple books, and a trailer for the wonderful and thrilling movie of the work of the Bletchley team – “The Imitation Game” – in my post Asperger’s: Clearly Bright and Imaginative.

Graham Moore, who wrote the screenplay for the movie, says he saw similarities between the two key cryptanalysts Turing and Clarke:

“They were both such outsiders, and that gave them some common ground. They were able to see things in a different way to others.”