Archive for the 'history' category

Reading Diary: Unfeathered bird, Marie Curie and her daughters, Creation & Engineers of victory

Dec 02 2013 Published by under acad lib future, book review, history, science books

Some capsule reviews of books I've finished over the last little while, in the spirit of catching up.

van Grouw, Katrina. The Unfeathered Bird. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013. 304pp. ISBN-13: 978-0691151342

This is a seriously beautiful coffee table-sized scientific illustrations book on birds. Basically the idea of the book is to explore birds through drawings mostly of whole or partial skeletons but also some of musculature and "plucked" bodies. A bit odd, a bit creepy but breath-taking. The book opens with a very general section on what birds have in common and then goes into much more detail about various different families of birds, such as accipitres (vultures, birds of prey, owls), picae (parrots, turacos, etc), anseres (waterfowl, penguins, etc), grallae (flamingoes, herons, etc), and gallinae (gamebirds, screamers, etc) and passeres (pigeons, nightjars, etc).

Each section has some explanatory text, detailed but not overwhelming for the non-specialist, and occasionally a bit whimsical. I certainly learned a lot.

While probably not suitable for academic collections, this might be fun for a public library that collects nature art books and certainly as a gift for any bird lover.

 

 

Emling, Shelley. Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 256pp. ISBN-13: 978-0230115712

This is a really terrific book covering a lot of less-well-know things about Marie Curie and her family. Mostly covering Curie's life from her 1921 trip to the USA until her death in 1934 it covers a lot of ground. Interestingly, the focus is on her administrative and fundraising duties for the Curie Institutes in Paris and Warsaw rather than her directly scientific contributions. The book also covers her personal life after the death of Pierre Curie quite a bit including some of the politics she found her self not-so-willingly enmeshed in.

Perhaps what makes this book most valuable is that is doesn't end with her death. It picks right up and tells the stories of her daughters Irene and Eve, both of whom had lives as interesting as their mother's. Irene of course was a renowned scientist but Eve also lead a very public life as a journalist so I very much appreciated their stories to complement Marie's.

I would recommend Marie Curie and her daughters to any library which collects scientific biographies or on women in science. Most public and high school libraries would benefit from this book as well.

 

 

Rutherford, Adam. Creation: How Science Is Reinventing Life Itself. New York: Current, 2013. 288pp. ISBN-13: 978-1617230059

The species of book that this belongs to can be problematic sometimes. It's a popular introduction to a new and hot field of academic study. The danger? Too dumbed down or too sexed up. Fortunately Adam Rutherford's introduction to synthetic biology doesn't fall into either camp at all. I't actually a pretty reasonable introduction, providing decent detail at an appropriate level for the target audience. The target audience being fairly scientifically literate people who want to catch up a bit on the whole biotech field and see what all the fuss is about.

The first section gives a fairly long overview of where life came from on the planet, both from a geological and biological perspective. The second section goes into some fairly detailed examples of what synthetic biology can do, with some interesting case studies in biofuels, bio circuitry, food crops, plug and play remixing and others. The final chapter makes the case that biotechnology is a transformative technology that's worth pursuing.

Overall, a fine book that might be too basic for research collections but is completely appropriate for collections aimed at non-scientists. In that vein, public libraries would find it useful.

 

 

Kennedy, Paul. Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned The Tide in the Second World War. New York: Harper Collins, 2013. 464pp. ISBN-13: 978-1400067619

This is a very cool idea for a book: take a look at all the major technological innovations by the Allies during World War II and analyse how they contributed to their ultimate success against the Nazis. This ideal book would balance scientific and engineering detail with keen insight into military and political strategy and tactics along with solid narrative drive to paint a vivid picture of how those technologies made a difference on the ground, in the air and at sea.

This isn't quite that book, but it's close. What's it's perhaps lacking from that ideal vision is a bit more on the science and engineering side, in particular more on the scientists and engineers who researched, designed and developed such key technologies as radar, better fighter engines and all the rest. In other words, this is a bit more of a traditional popular history book than I was hoping for, with an emphasis on political and military/operational detail.

But not to any great detriment. This is still one of the best books I read in 2013, vivid and fascinating. It worked as a wonderful companion to Antony Beevor's The Second World War<img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=confofascieli-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0316023744" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" / which I read just before picking up Kennedy's book. I really appreciated how it dove into detail on some of the themes and campaign's that Beevor by necessity wasn't able to address, like the battle of the Atlantic.

I recommend this book to any collection that deals with military or scientific and engineering history. Any public library would find a ready audience for this book. It would also make a great gift for the military/science/engineering geek in your family.

(Copies of The Unfeathered Bird, Creation and Marie Curie and Her Daughters provided by the publishers.)

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Reading Diary: Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

Jonathan Fetter-Vorm's Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb is a real gem of a graphic novel, yet another stunning exemplar of what is possible with the graphic novel format.

As I've often said, there are basically two kinds of science graphic novels -- those that use the format to illustrate the same content as a textbook would have on the theory that anything illustrated must be more accessible and enjoyable. And those that use the graphic novel format to its fullest, finding a new way to bring science to a mass audience. The latter, of course, if preferable. But I have to say the there is definitely a sub-genre of that preferred genre, one that uses the graphic novel to tell a science story in some sort of social, historical or scientific context. Logicomix and Feynman are two great examples of wonderful historical biography graphic novels.

And Trinity is a wonderful example of the graphic novel as social history of science.

It tells the story of the development and deployment of the first atomic bomb during World War II, from the beginnings of the Manhattan Project through to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their aftermath. For a fairly brief book telling a huge story, it covers a lot of ground but never feels rushed. A lot of characters walk on and off stage fairly quickly too -- perhaps too quickly sometimes -- but the story stays focused. There's not a huge amount of scientific or technical detail by any means and not really anything that the average person couldn't easily grasp but what is included is well-chosen. The political context is also covered very well and Fetter-Vorm does not shy away from dealing with the moral and ethical aspects of the use of nuclear weapons in World War II. Fetter-Vorm's script is efficient and engaging with not too many words cluttering up the story but enough so that you're never left wondering what the pictures mean. And his art is clean and dynamic yet perfectly evocative, not super-hero-y at all. Both story and art find just the right mood to tell the story

Fetter-Vorm even includes a nice little bibliography at the end.

I would recommend this book to any fan of non-fiction and science/historical graphic novels. Any library, public or academic, that collects graphic novels would do well to purchase this for their community. While perhaps a little grim for younger primary school students, it would be perfect for middle school and high school. Patrons of science and engineering libraries in particular would find this a great addition to the collection.

Fetter-Vorm, Jonathan. Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb. New York: Hill and Wang, 2012. 160pp. ISBN-13: 978-0809094684

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From the Archives: The Quantum Ten: A Story of Passion, Tragedy, Ambition, and Science by Sheilla Jones

Feb 06 2011 Published by under book review, history, science books

I have a whole pile of science-y book reviews on two of my older blogs, here and here. Both of those blogs have now been largely superseded by or merged into this one. So I'm going to be slowly moving the relevant reviews over here. I'll mostly be doing the posts one or two per weekend and I'll occasionally be merging two or more shorter reviews into one post here.

This one, of The Quantum Ten: A Story of Passion, Tragedy, Ambition, and Science, is from November 19, 2008.

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Enough with the physics books, already! After a summer of more or less nothing but physics books, I should have probably tried something a bit different. On the other hand, this book is about one of the most interesting periods in all the history of physics -- that transitional time in the first third of the 20th century when some of the greatest minds of all time worked out the foundations of quantum physics. Back when I read Isaacson's Einstein book, that was one of the periods that fascinated me the most, especially because it was so instructive to see a brilliant mind like Einstein be so doggedly wrong. In a way, it gives hope to us all.

But, back to the book at hand.

Canadian journalist Sheilla Jones is basically telling the story of the rise of quantum theory through the stories of ten men: Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Max Born, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Paul Dirac, Erwin Schrodinger, Louis de Broglie, Pascual Jordan and Paul Ehrenfest. It is through their interactions up until the Fifth Solvay Conference in 1927 that the story is told.

Jones does an admirable job of telling those 10 interrelated stories in a clear and comprehensible way. Some are highlighted more, such as Einstein, Bohr or Born and some less, such as Jordan or Dirac. However, if one person can said to be the main lens through which Jones tells the story, it is the tragic, troubled Paul Ehrenfest, the confidant of Einstein who ultimately committed suicide while also taking the life of his disabled son. His doubts and insecurities concerning his own abilities as a physicist are a perfect mirror in many ways for the perceived doubts and insecurities of the new quantum reality that those men had to come to grips with.

Jones does a fine job of telling a scientific story through biographical details, weaving in the darkening tale of pre-Nazi-era Europe in the tale as well. If I have any complaint, it's that the actually recounting of the Solvay Conference was a bit of an anti-climax. This is easily one of the best science books of the year and I would certainly expect it to make many of the year's best lists, especially in Canada.

I would easily recommend this book to any academic library that collects in popular science or the history of science. It would also be suitable for any public library. With the holiday season upon us, there would be worse gift ideas for the historically or scientifically minded.

Jones, Sheilla. The Quantum Ten: A Story of Passion, Tragedy, Ambition, and Science. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 2008. 323pp. ISBN-13: 978-0195369090

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From the Archives: Countdown: A history of space flight by T.A. Heppenheimer

Dec 18 2010 Published by under book review, engineering, history, science books

I have a whole pile of science-y book reviews on two of my older blogs, here and here. Both of those blogs have now been largely superseded by or merged into this one. So I'm going to be slowly moving the relevant reviews over here. I'll mostly be doing the posts one or two per weekend and I'll occasionally be merging two or more shorter reviews into one post here.

This one, of Countdown: A History of Space Flight, is from November 14, 2006.

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The decision to read this book was certainly not rocket science, even if it is a book about rocket science. An engaging and fascinating read, you don't have to be a brain surgeon to understand it either, as it concerns itself as much with the human challenges in the history of space flight as with the purely engineering ones.

Since this book was published in 1997, it obviously doesn't cover any of the more recent missions from the last ten years or so, but I didn't really find that to be much of a problem, as what I was really looking for was information about the early years of rocketry, and this book covers those quite well, including the programs in Germany, Russia and the USA.

I really appreciated the focus on the early careers of Wernher von Braun in Germany and, in particular, Sergei Korolev of Russia, whose name was unfamiliar to me before. The hardships of the Russian engineers and other workers who were forced to work in incredibly bad conditions for Stalin were something that was also a revelation. Von Braun's story was also fascinating, perhaps the only flaw in the book's coverage is that I would liked to have learned more about the program under Nazi Germany. Von Braun was very likely an unacknowledged war criminal, and this was underplayed.

The great strides of the Soviet program in the 1950s is also well covered, including the determination by the Americans to ultimately overtake the Soviet program, which they did by the 1960s. The stories of the machinations of the US Army, Air Force and Navy and their jockeying for position and influence was very well presented. The seamless integration of the military and industry is also quite apparent, leading the Eisenhower's famous comment about watching out for the military industrial complex. Well, it's all here, laid out in the history of the space program. The main developments in ICBMs, spy planes, spy satellites, high altitude bombers are all covered.

In some ways, the most exciting part of the book is the chapters leading up to the dramatic Apollo moon landing, contrasting with the Soviet program's declining success at that time. The chapters following the moon landing could have been anti-climactic. However, I found the history of the various unmanned, exploratory missions very interesting; Heppenheimer is definitely a proponent of unmanned exploration versus the political showmanship of dangerous and expensive manned missions. This part of the book, leading up to the Challenger disaster, was very critical of the American decision to put all it's eggs in the shuttle basket and showed how the Europeans were able to capitalize on that and how even the Soviet/Russian program was able to make many positive strides.

The book ends on a positive note, hoping for a renewed international space program based on international co-operation. We're not quite there yet, but this book certainly gives the background necessary to understand where we are and how we got here.

Heppenheimer, T. A. Countdown: A History of Space Flight New York: Wiley, 1997. 398pp.

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From the Archives: Screams of reason: Mad science and modern culture by David J. Skal

Dec 11 2010 Published by under book review, history, science books

I have a whole pile of science-y book reviews on two of my older blogs, here and here. Both of those blogs have now been largely superseded by or merged into this one. So I'm going to be slowly moving the relevant reviews over here. I'll mostly be doing the posts one or two per weekend and I'll occasionally be merging two or more shorter reviews into one post here.

This one, of Screams of Reason: Mad Science in Modern Culture, is from January 18, 2007.

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A little pop-cultural analysis is never a bad thing, taken in small doses. In larger doses, however, it can be a bit problematic. The good news is that it can be breezy and light, fun and frivolous while still making some good points and containing a few nuggets of real wisdom. On the other had, it can be plagued with shallowness, of research and analysis, lacking in both depth and breadth. David J. Skal's Screams of reason is a good example of both the strengths and weaknesses of this approach, although in the final analysis I would have to give it more plusses than minuses.

So, what's Skal trying to achieve here (p.18):

A prototype outsider, shunted to the sidelines of serious discourse, to the no-man's-land of B movies, pulp novels, and comic books, the mad scientist has served as a lightning rod for otherwise unbearable anxieties about the meaning of scientific thinking and the uses and consequences of modern technology. The mad scientist seems anarchic but often serves to support the status quo; instead of pressing us to confront the serious questions of ethics, power, and the social impact of technological advances, he too often allows us to laugh off notions that science might occasionally be the handmaiden of megalomania, greed and sadism. And while he is often written off as the product of knee-jerk anti-intellectualism, upon closer examination, he reveals himself (mad scientists are almost always men) to be a far more complicated symbol of civilization and its split-level discontents.

And I would submit that he does a pretty good job of it, each chapter exploring a different aspect of the image of mad scientists (and science/scientists in general) in modern culture. In chapter 1, Skal presents the history of the prototypical mad scientist, Dr. Frankenstein. He does a good presentation of the history of the novel and the various films based on the novel, relating them to his thesis fairly well. He also touches upon some other creations from the same period, such as Dracula. Chapters 2 and 3 touch on the Frankenstein story some more, this time focusing on artificial life such as robots, electricity and mostly B movies from the 30s and 40s. Chapter 4 doesn't quite see us moving on from Dr. Frankenstein, but we do continue discussing B movies, mostly related to nuclear weapons and fear thereof. Finally, chapter 5 moves on from our favourite mad scientist and discusses the phenomenon of aliens, UFO and abductions. And yes, a lot of B movies and a bit of TV. Chapter 6 is about mad medical doctors and the fears they conjure up. The Nazis get a few mentions, as does, you guessed it, Dr. F. Robin Cook, Hannibal Lecter and AIDS all get name-checked here. Chapter 7 is one of the most interesting, as Skal discusses the whole posthuman movement, with lots of fast and furious commentary on Rock Horror, David Cronenberg and others.

While this is good work, there are some serious weaknesses in Skal's approach. First of all, so much of the ambitious analysis he sets up for himself on page 18 really boils down into a lot of film history. That's understandable, because that's what he's known for with important books on Tod Browning (Dark Carnival), Dracula (Hollywood Gothic) and horror film (The Monster Show) but he really needed to broaden his approach for this project. He barely touches on the science fiction and horror pulps era of the 1930s onwards. Comics, almost nothing, when you consider the importance of several EC titles in horror and sf this is really too bad. Novels also get short shrift, unless a film was made out of it. Even tv didn't get too much coverage. Obvious shows like Star Trek and X Files are touched on only briefly while others like Night Stalker not at all. Even non-US film gets little attention, such as the various Hammer Films getting only brief coverage. Like I said, these are a serious weaknesses. It's like he had a lot of notes left from some of his film projects and thought he could cobble them together into another book.

Some other weaknesses? The tendency to recite film history and plot summary in the place of analysis is amusing and fun, but not really what he's trying to get at. As I allude to above, while Frankenstein may be the most important example I think he relies on the various film versions a bit too much.

Finally, at the end of the book, he gets all post-moderny on us, something that I found kind of surprising. Some quotes (p312-317):

[Carl] Sagan does not seem to appreciate that many people find scientific material threatening and dehumanizing, not because of ignorant apprehensions but because of what science explicitly states. Most people don't want to think of themselves as temporary mechanism destined for the scrap heap of oblivion...Sagan does a commendable job...in debunking pseudoscience...But in rationalizing the abduction stories into absurdity, he completely misses their metaphorical dimensions and significance. They are the ultimate symbolic expressions of twentieth-century fears about being immobilized and dehumanized by "scientific" authority figures.

*snip*

In her book Science as Salvation the British moral philosopher Mary Midgley notes that "increasing technicality in the sciences...leaves unserved the general need for understanding, and whatever spiritual needs lie behind it." Ironically, "The promise of satisfying those spiritual needs has played a great part in establishing the special glory of the abstraction 'science' in our cultures." But as scientific complexity increases, general understanding wanes. As Midgley elaborates, "Many scienitists will now say flatly that most of us cannot expect to understand what is happening [in science] at all, and had better not even mess around with the popularizations. This gloomy estimate must extend, of course, far beyond the uneducated proles to the scientists themselves, when they deal with anything outside their own increasingly narrow provinces. There cannot, in this view, ever be such a thing as a scientifically-minded public.

And, well, a lot more like that in the last few pages of the book. After such a lively, but limited, journey through pop culture I find it interesting that the last chapter reads like a bad undergrad paper in the philosophy of science by a 19-year-old that has just discovered postmoderism. In a sense, Skal is saying we're stuck with the image of science and scientists in pop culture because scientists are too smart, arrogant and condescending for their own good and that the "little people" are justified in their fear and suspicion because of their own ignorance and lack of intellectual curiosity. Sheesh. Read a book, pay attention in school, watch a documentary, for god's sake.

Anyways, in the final analysis, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it with some reservations. It's got lots of fun B movie history and a few interesting things to say about the place of science in modern culture, even if Skal seems to fall into some of the same traps at the end that he bemoans in the middle. Just skip the conclusion.

Skal, David J. Screams of Reason: Mad Science in Modern Culture. New York: Norton, 1998. 368pp. ISBN-13: 978-0393045826

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Best Science Books 2010: HistoryNet and O Magazine

A couple more shorts lists.

HistoryNet

  • Rival Rails: The Race to Build America's Greatest Transcontinental Railroad by Walter Borneman
  • DC-3: A Legend In Her Time-A 75th Anniversary Photographic Tribute by Bruce McAllister
  • Air Power: The Men, Machines, and Ideas that Revolutionized War, from Kitty Hawk to Iraq By Stephen Budiansky

O Magazine

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

Earlier entries in this year's list of lists can be found here and the 2009 summary post here.

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Friday Fun: Historians Admit To Inventing Ancient Greeks

Oct 08 2010 Published by under friday fun, history

Ah, The Onion. I haven't used them in a while for my Friday Fun and it was feeling like it was way overdue.

As usual, classic stuff: Historians Admit To Inventing Ancient Greeks:

A group of leading historians held a press conference Monday at the National Geographic Society to announce they had "entirely fabricated" ancient Greece, a culture long thought to be the intellectual basis of Western civilization.

The group acknowledged that the idea of a sophisticated, flourishing society existing in Greece more than two millennia ago was a complete fiction created by a team of some two dozen historians, anthropologists, and classicists who worked nonstop between 1971 and 1974 to forge "Greek" documents and artifacts."

And lest people think that this frivolous article has no bearing on the weighty issues of the day in terms of scholarly communications...

"Honestly, we never meant for things to go this far," said Professor Gene Haddlebury, who has offered to resign his position as chair of Hellenic Studies at Georgetown University. "We were young and trying to advance our careers, so we just started making things up: Homer, Aristotle, Socrates, Hippocrates, the lever and fulcrum, rhetoric, ethics, all the different kinds of columns--everything."

See! They were driven to perpetrate the greatest hoax of our times by research metrics!

And there's even science-y content too:

"Geometry? That was all Kevin," said Haddlebury, referring to former graduate student Kevin Davenport. "Man, that kid was on fire in those days. They teach Davenportian geometry in high schools now, though of course they call it Euclidean."

(As a counterpoint to this article, check out this slightly older Onion piece: Archaeologists Unearth Lousiest Civilization Ever.)

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IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, Vol 32, Iss 3

Some interesting articles, as usual, in the latest issue:

There are also a few articles on the AEG-Telefunken TR 440 computer.

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Friday Fun: Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence

Jul 09 2010 Published by under education, friday fun, history

I love Wikipedia. I probably use it every day. It's become an indispensable part of the modern information landscape.

But.

A few months ago, I was doing a session in our lab with a bunch of high school students. When I do these sessions I try and illuminate how the modern information landscape is a bit more complicated than they think -- I try and instill a little doubt and humbleness into their mostly quite confident attitudes. I talk about Facebook and privacy and Wikipedia and a whole bunch of things. Anyways, I'm talking about Wikipedia and demoing how easy it is to randomly change. And this young man pipes up and mentions that he's just made himself commissioner of the NHL. Hilarity ensued. Fortunately, Wikipedia corrected itself within 30 minutes or so and Gary Bettman was restored to his rightful place in the world.

But. It was a good demonstration of both the strengths and weaknesses of Wikipedia.

Which brings me to today's Friday Fun. I just love this one from The Onion: Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence. Somehow it seems to me that the more important you think Wikipedia is, the greater an accomplishment of the human impulse to learn, the funnier you will think it is.

And, boy oh boy, is it funny. Definitely read the whole thing. An excerpt:

NEW YORK--Wikipedia, the online, reader-edited encyclopedia, honored the 750th anniversary of American independence on July 25 with a special featured section on its main page Tuesday.

"It would have been a major oversight to ignore this portentous anniversary," said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, whose site now boasts over 4,300,000 articles in multiple languages, over one-quarter of which are in English, including 11,000 concerning popular toys of the 1980s alone. "At 750 years, the U.S. is by far the world's oldest surviving democracy, and is certainly deserving of our recognition," Wales said. "According to our database, that's 212 years older than the Eiffel Tower, 347 years older than the earliest-known woolly-mammoth fossil, and a full 493 years older than the microwave oven."

*snip*

"The Revolution's main adversaries were the patriots and the people from Braveheart," said speaker Tim Capodice, who has edited hundreds of Wikipedia entries on subjects as diverse as Euclidian geometry and Ratfucking. "The patriots, being a rag-tag group of misfits, almost lost on several occasions. But after a string of military antics and a convoluted scheme involving chicken feathers and an inflatable woman, the British were eventually defeated despite a last-minute surge, by a score of 89-87."

Despite spirited discussions bloggers present later described as "eluminating" and "sweet," the symposium was cut short when differences of opinion among the panelists degenerated into personal insults and name-calling.

While Wikipedia's "American Inderpendance" page remains available to all site visitors, administrators have suspended additions and further edits to its content due to vandalism.

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Stephen Wolfram on Alan Turing

Jun 23 2010 Published by under computer science, history

Nice post by Stephen Wolfram on the Wolfram|Alpha blog, Happy Birthday, Alan Turing:

He was in some respects a quintessential British amateur, dipping his intellect into different areas. He achieved a high level of competence in pure mathematics, and used that as his professional base. His contributions in traditional mathematics were certainly perfectly respectable, though not spectacular. But in every area he touched, there was a certain crispness to the ideas he developed--even if their technical implementation was sometimes shrouded in arcane notation and masses of detail.

In some ways he was fortunate to live when he did. For he was at the right time to be able take the formalism of mathematics as it had been developed, and to combine it with the emerging engineering of his day, to see for the first time the general concept of computation.

It is perhaps a shame that he died 25 years before computer experiments became widely feasible. I certainly wonder what he would have discovered tinkering with Mathematica. I don't doubt that he would have pushed it to its limits, writing code that would horrify me. But I fully expect that long before I did, he would have discovered the main elements of NKS, and begun to understand their significance.

More on Alan Turing here.

(Via Jennifer Peterson of Wolfram Research.)

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