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Jerry Roberts has died

One of the last surviving Bletchley Park codebreakers, Jerry Roberts, has died aged 93. He was one of a small group of codebreakers who decrypted messages from the German High Command, including the German plans for the battle of Kursk. He initially worked on the Double Playfair hand cipher used by the German police, and later was part of the team working on the (more difficult than the well-known Enigma) Lorenz cipher, which used two sets of five cipher wheels.

Roberts had a successful career after the war in market research, and was a campaigner in later years for greater recognition for his fellow codebreakers – including William Tutte and Tommy Flowers, who had built the Colossus computer which cracked the codes, and Alan Turing, who also apparently did something.

Jerry Roberts obituary – The Guardian

Bletchley Park codebreaker Jerry Roberts dies, aged 93 – BBC News website

Jerry Roberts – Obituary – The Telegraph

LASER TURING

turing-dance

Since we’re the leading authority on Alan Turing news stories, and since it’s clear that anything is improved by the addition of LASERS, we’re proud to report that the Manchester Histories Festival, taking place across Manchester on March 21-28, will include LASER ALAN TURING.

The centrepiece of the festival will be a laser light show at MediaCity in Salford, playing throughout the festival; it will include a ‘thank you’ message to Alan Turing, in morse code, by artist Craig Morrison, and involves two mile laser beams. The Histories Festival says:

The art is a tribute to the impact he continues to have on how we live today in a digitally connected world.

More information

Laser light spectacular to pay tribute to Alan Turing at festival at the Manchester Evening News

Thank you event page

Manchester Histories Festival

Alan Turing receives Royal Pardon

It was announced this morning that mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing has been posthumously granted a pardon for his conviction in 1952 for gross indecency. The pardon is issued under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy by the Queen, after intervention from justice secretary Chris Grayling. The conviction was at the time standard for persons found to be practising homosexuals, and was applied to more than 50,000 cases. Turing’s punishment was chemical castration, although many others in his situation were sent to prison.

Maths at the Fringe

Starting next week, the historic city of Edinburgh will be taken over by entertainers of all types, performing comedy, dance, theatre and music, entertaining visitors to their massive world-famous festival fringe. Since discerning mathematicians sometimes also enjoy being entertained, I thought I’d write a roundup of the shows maths has non-empty intersection with.

First up, since we haven’t mentioned him in a while, it’s Alan Turing! No, his reanimated corpse isn’t performing edgy stand-up, but theatre company Idle Motion is performing a visual theatre piece entitled That Is All You Need To Know, celebrating the work of Bletchley Park codebreakers. Alan Turing Alan Turing Alan Turing.

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