This is the second in a series of posts about the maths of Star Trek. Part I covered the probability of survival while wearing a red shirt.
I can’t believe I’m writing another “Mathematical topic: THE MUSICAL!” post so soon after the last one.
This time, the New Diorama Theatre is putting on The Universal Machine: a new musical about the life and death of Alan Turing. Here’s the blurb:
A new study from Prof. Lawks A. Mercy and Dr. O. Goode-Griefe of the Institute of Blogging Studies indicates that we have published absolutely loads of posts about Alan Turing this year, the Alan Turing Year. We’ve posted about Alan Turing events, Alan Turing facts, Alan Turing competitions and O mercy me have we posted about Alan Turing petitions.
So this is the last Turing post of 2012. I’ve been saving this thing up so it can be the last Turing post this year and on Wednesday morning we can put the whole mad shebang behind us.
What I’d like to bring your attention to is nothing so demanding of your attention as a petition or a campaign, but a little suggestion for a simple way to commemorate Alan Turing: Donald A. Knuth has posted on his website that it would be a nice idea to define a meaning for the verb ‘to ture‘.
The University of Manchester is holding another cryptography competition (as featured in this news post earlier this week). We spoke to Charles Walkden, one of the competition’s organisers, about the project.
Following on from the huge success that was their inaugural competition earlier this year, mathematicians from the University of Manchester have put together another Cryptography Competition in honour of father of modern everything, Alan Turing.
This time, the competition is open to teams of school children from all over the UK, and comprises a six-chapter story featuring
Alice and Bob Mike and Ellie, who get “caught up in a cryptographic adventure”. Solving all the puzzles and cracking the codes faster than other people gets you on the leader board, and there are prizes for being near the top as well as extra prizes for randomly-selected teams who’ve solved everything. (You know that since it’s a maths department, their randomisation algorithms will be top-notch). It’s also possible to enter as a non-schoolchild, and check your answers on the site, although you won’t be eligible for prizes. The competition is aimed at UK school years 7-11 (age 11-16), although I can confirm it’s dead good fun for anyone interested in cryptography puzzles themed around exciting storylines.
Alan Turing Cryptography Competition 2013
Manchester University press release
Via Nick Higham on Twitter.
The petition to put Alan Turing on the next £10 note has received over 22,000 signatures, which triggered a response from the Government:
The Bank of England has been including historic characters on its notes since 1970. The Bank welcomes suggestions from members of the public for individuals who might feature on future banknotes, and publishes a list of these suggestions on its website. These suggestions inform the process when a new note is under consideration.
The mathematician and cryptographer Alan Turing features on the list which can be found at:
This e-petition remains open to signatures and will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100 000 signature threshold.
So it might yet happen. The bit at the end about 100,000 signatures being enough to put the petition before the Backbench Business Committee is boilerplate for petitions on direct.gov.uk – I don’t think the Bank of England needs new legislation to dictate who goes on the notes.
As well as Turing, the names of three other mathematicians are on the list being considered by the Bank – Mary Somerville, Charles Babbage and James Clerk Maxwell.
via James Grime on Twitter
The UK Information Commissioner’s Office, the “independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals”, is holding its first ICO Alan Turing Lecture at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester at 6pm on Tuesday 11 September.
According to the website, this lecture
will be delivered by distinguished Cambridge historian Professor Christopher Andrew, the official historian of MI5, who will be discussing the life and work of Turing.
If you would be interested in attending you are invited to send your expressions of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. While places are limited we will be doing our best to accommodate those wishing to attend.
The inclusion of “first” suggests this is part of a series but it isn’t clear what form this will take. The website says they “hope to arrange similar lectures in the future to highlight important issues connected to the ICO’s work”.
Source: First ICO Alan Turing Lecture.
Via, and thanks to, @Ben_Nuttall on Twitter.