Tag: computer science

Alan Turing’s School Report Goes On Show As Part Of A New Exhibition

A school report of gay mathematician and war hero Alan Turing will be part of the new Codebreakers and Groundbreakers exhibition which opens this week at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum.

The report is from 1929 when Turing was 13 years old and it’s generally quite mixed. Several of Turing’s teachers praise him for his work but also note how hasty and messy some of it has been. He was strongest in his principal subjects (Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics) and generally weaker in French and English.

“His work on Higher Certificate papers shows distinct promise, but he must realise that ability to put a neat and tidy solution on paper – intelligible and legible – is necessary for a first-rate mathematician,” his Math teacher wrote.

Alan Turing’s School Report from 1929. Sherborne School Archives. The Provost and Fellows of Kings College Cambridge

The exhibition will also feature the book Turing was given when he won the first Christopher Morcom Science Prize at Sherborne School. This was set up by Morcom’s parents in memory of their son who died in 1930 at the age of 18. Morcom is believed to have been Turing’s first love.

Turing’s work during the Second World War was instrumental in the decryption of German ciphers at the Bletchley Park facility, where he constructed electromechanical machines to quickly decode encrypted messages. Some historians estimate that the work that Turing and many other codebreakers (a lot of them were women) did at Bletchley Park shortened the war in Europe by at least four years.

He’s considered the founder of computer science and in 1950 he devised a test to evaluate a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligence. He called the test “the imitation game” and it’s currently referred to as the Turing test. This test has been proven to be a widely influential yet somewhat controversial topic in computer science.

Alan Turing was arrested and prosecuted in 1952 when being gay was a criminal offense in the United Kingdom. He chose to be chemically castrated to avoid prison. He died on June 7, 1954, of cyanide poisoning and his death was ruled as suicide. He was 42 years old. The British Government apologized for the appalling treatment of Alan Turing in 2009.

The book Alan Turing received when he won the first Christopher Morcom Science Prize. The Provost and Fellows of Kings College Cambridge

 

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/alan-turings-school-report-goes-on-show-as-part-of-a-new-exhibtion/

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Trump to launch $200M STEM education initiative with Silicon Valley leaders

Silicon Valley tech companies are teaming up with the Trump administration on a new initiative to push science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in our schools. The new STEM initiative, which Trump will be signing as a memorandum today, will ask the Department of Education to allocate $200 million of its grant funds toward coding and STEM education.

The impetus for this new initiative is train the workers of tomorrow for the growing demand of computer-science jobs. It should also help improve the woeful state of STEM education in this country. According data from the American Institute of Physics, less than 40 percent of graduating high school seniors have taken a physics course. (The White House reports that only 60 percent of high schools even offer physics as a course.) As for computer science, less than half of U.S. high schools offer coding courses.

“Our country is facing a challenge that it hasn’t had to address in two generations: reworking the education system to keep pace with advancing technology,” Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a statement today. “In the 1950s, the race to space drove schools to start teaching physics. Today, it’s all about computer science.”

On Tuesday, Trump’s daughter Ivanka will head to Detroit to announce private sector commitments to this program. Representatives from Amazon, Facebook, Google, GM, and Quicken Loans will be in attendance, among others.

This STEM education effort comes at an interesting time. Many tech leaders recently criticized Trump for his move to end DACA and decision to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military. Earlier this year, many of these same executives served on the Trump administration’s technology council. While Trump dissolved two related councils (members resigned following Trump’s response to the Charlottesville, Virginia, incident), his administration still hopes to work with industry tech leaders to modernize our government, and now, help bring our education system into the 21st century, too.

Today’s STEM-focused endeavor comes after Trump cut the Department of Education’s funds by 13.5 percent ($9.2 billion) earlier this year.

H/T Recode

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/trump-stem-education-initiative/

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