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Mick Jagger's Enigma machine
If mathematician Alan Turing were still alive today, he would have reached his 100th birthday on 23 June. To celebrate the centenary, the Science Museum in London is staging an exhibition on the work of the British computing pioneer, whose ideas helped drive code-breaking and computer programming, but stretched into many other areas.
Turing was only 24 years old when he came up with the idea of the 'stored program' computer, which underpins every computer today. He influenced early thinking on artificial intelligence, came up with mathematical approaches to problems in biology and medicine, and played a part in designing and programming the early computers built in the post-war era.
In September 1939, Cambridge graduate Turing was recruited to work on World War II code breaking at Bletchley Park, in part to try to crack the Enigma codes used by the German High Command. He helped develop the electromechanical Bombe machine, which acted as if it were several Enigma machines wired together, for the decoding. His work is thought to have helped shorten the war by two years.
The Enigma machine pictured was lent to the museum by Mick Jagger, who produced the 2001 British movie Enigma, a wartime thriller set at Bletchley Park.
Credit: Science Museum/SSPL
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