Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Alan Turing in South Carolina, 1937

In December 1937, while at Princeton, the young mathematical genius Alan Turing traveled with his friend Venable Martin to visit Martin's hometown, which Turing's biographer calls only "a small town in South Carolina."

Turing wrote home that it was "quite as far south as I had ever been -- about 34 degrees."

This is good for only seven lines in Andrew Hodges's Turing biography, but of course it interests me, as my hometown of Batesburg, S.C. is on the 33rd parallel. Nearby Columbia, the capital city and home of my undergraduate alma mater, is on the 34th. I wonder where exactly Turing was?

Incidentally, Turing wrote home of South Carolina: "The people seem to be all very poor down there still, even though it is so long since the civil war."

Source: Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: The Enigma (Burnett Books, 1983; Princeton UP, 2014), p. 180.