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Bletchley Park and Alan Turing’s papers

LONDON, 23 November 2010 – As you may have seen, this afternoon some key papers from British computer scientist and wartime codebreaker Alan Turing are up for auction at Christie’s in London. Dr Turing is a hero to many of us at Google for his pioneering work on algorithms and the development of computer science. He’s also an important figure for many across the world who face homophobic attacks and bullying, an issue that we have spoken about elsewhere.

Why are these papers so important? Dr Sue Black, a computer scientist at University College London and a key campaigner for Bletchley Park, where Dr Turing worked, can explain better than anyone:

“The lot includes the codebreaker Max Newman’s copies of many of Turing’s papers. Some of the papers have on them comments from Newman, a friend of Turing, who testified in his defence at his trial. These papers belong at Bletchley Park, home of the codebreakers, where these two codebreakers worked together side by side, helping to save millions of lives during World War Two.”

Sue asked Google for our support in purchasing the papers for Bletchley Park, which we agree is clearly the right place to house them. As has been reported this morning, we are backing the bid with a contribution of $100,000 towards a successful purchase.

There’s still a long way to go to raise all the money required, and we hope that others will be able to come forward too. The deadline for contributions to the bid has been extended until 2:00 PM GMT today, and anyone who is interested in supporting it should contact Sue or go to:

Press contacts

Bletchley Park
Kelsey Griffin
01908 272655

Clara Armand-Delille
020 7881 4644