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# L'uomo che sapeva troppo: Alan Turing e l'invenzione del computer (Great Discoveries)

"One of the most important openings in the path to the modern computer was made by the British mathematician Alan Turing - remarkably, while he was solving an entirely different problem. Shy and insecure about his middle-class origins, considered eccentric by those who did not know him well, Turing could show those close to him sly humor and bracing candor - even about his
...more

Paperback, 248 pages

Published
2007
(first published January 1st 2006)

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## Community Reviews

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Naturally there are some pages of equations and mathematical d ...more

I raised an eyebrow when I saw David Leavitt as the author of the book, wondering whether an author mostly known (or at least mostly known to me) as a writer of gay-centr ...more

This is a biography of Alan Turing, the man who was critical in decoding and building the computer (and the theoretical basis of the computer) used to decode the German Enigma machine and who pioneered AI theory. The tragic end of his life had me in tears at the injustice, a life and a genius lost (and a loss to society). His end was also poetic, (view spoiler) .

The book is a bit dry, especially during the difficult math parts, but it is nec ...more

Turing formulated a conceptual and technical framework for how a machine could be built that could be programmed to carry out arbitrary calculations all from first principles. Decades after his groundbreaking work on this subject, he was still patiently explaining the "surprising" discovery that ...more

**tutta**la vita del matematico inglese in chiave omosessuale, a meno che uno non voglia farsi ridere dietro scrivendo ad esempio che "la strategia attuata da Turing d ...more

It's worth noting, though, that the book doesn't have quite the emphasis that I was expecting. Many, many, many more pages are spent on the mathematics than on the man. A lengthy explanation of the operation of a series of hypothetical Turing machines runs to 30 pages. On the other hand, it was a shock to learn that Turing was briefly eng ...more

The first half of the book seems padded. Leavitt spends way too much time describing other homosexual scholars at Cambridge with whom Turning had no interactions. It seemed bizarre to write about men Turing might have met if only he had been less shy.

A section of Turing's WWII work to break the code of the German's Enigma machines is interesting and written in a way that a lay person feels like she almost understands how th ...more

Feb 04, 2015
^
rated it
1 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
would not recommend this book

Recommended to ^ by:
self-picked

I lost interest and gave up on page 26. So early! Feeble really; but I've just not been able to get back into it, despite trying.

The author's narrative reads too much like a first draft, a rough, barely-ordered laying out of sources without the subsequent necessary review, re-review, and knitting-together into a text that engages its reader as it flows. Was the sub-editor asleep at the time?

I am disappointed. After several deeply engrossing visits to the Bletchley Park site, and The National Mus ...more

The author's narrative reads too much like a first draft, a rough, barely-ordered laying out of sources without the subsequent necessary review, re-review, and knitting-together into a text that engages its reader as it flows. Was the sub-editor asleep at the time?

I am disappointed. After several deeply engrossing visits to the Bletchley Park site, and The National Mus ...more

Mar 24, 2014
Brick
rated it
2 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
science-mathematics,
history

An interesting book, with many details of the extent of Turing's wide ranging investigations into the fundamentals of mathematics and logic, together with the author's assessment of the relationship between Turing's homosexuality and indifference to social conventions and Turing's thought processes, also unconventional.

Ironic and sad that Turing seemed well aware of the effect of his unconventionality on his career, and was finally unwilling to accommodate the society and times in which he live ...more

Ironic and sad that Turing seemed well aware of the effect of his unconventionality on his career, and was finally unwilling to accommodate the society and times in which he live ...more

poteva essere più biografico, o più matematico, non lo so. forse più filosofico. in realtà è tutte e tre le cose insieme, ma non legano abbastanza. non è per niente psicologico, ed è un peccato perché ci sarebbe stato tanto da ingagare sulla figura psicologica di turing. invece si limita a citare le sue stranezze, le sue difficoltà, il suo isolamento, la sua infelicità e incomprensione. il suo rapporto con la madre traspare appena come patologico, unicamente dalla quantità morbosa di citazioni d

...moreI'll be honest, I was lost during the latter parts of the book ( the arguments between two, or more, scholars, went well over my head ).

The final part of the book is the only part that shows, or attempts to show, Turing as an ...more

I would highly recommend this book as a quick look at Turing and the importance of his work - in both mathematics and computer science - for those who may not have ...more

Chiunque abbia studiato programmazione avrà affrontato durante i suoi primi passi la famigerata "macchina di Turing", amore e odio (più odio che amore, in tutta onestà) di un sedicenne interessato a entrare nel vasto mondo della programmazione di software.

Della sua vita privata non sapevo niente e sono rimasto nell'ignoranza letteralmente per decenni, fino a quando non ho avuto notizia del perdono real ...more

The book was interesting, but I just didn’t enjoy it. There was too much math and science (sometimes explained nicely so that a non-mathematician could understand it) and not enough biography. Again, this was apparently my misunderstandin ...more

Jul 26, 2013
Laura Testoni
added it

**Un libro ibrido**

"L'uomo che sapeva troppo" è un'opera ibrida:

- Non è fino in fondo un romanzo, perchè racconta, credo fedelmente, il percorso scientifico intellettuale e umano di Alan Turing.

- Non è fino in fondo un'opera di divulgazione scentifica anche se molte pagine sono di buona divulgazione e non facili (per me).

Il punto è che David Leavitt (scrittore intimista, talentuoso, post-minimalista - corrente lettraria molto di moda negli anni Ottanta) è davvero molto partecipe e apertamente emp ...more

In the end I won't recommend it to my book club, because there is far too much math and too little that they would find of any interest, so that even though I do retain some residual interest in this kind of math, I would not inflict ...more

This book is qu ...more

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Leavitt is a graduate of Yale University and a professor at the University of Florida, where he is the co-director of the creative writing program. He is also the editor of

Leavitt, who is openly gay, has frequently explored gay issues in his work. He divides his time between Florida and Tuscany, Italy.

More about David Leavitt...
*Subtropics*magazine, The University of Florida's literary review.Leavitt, who is openly gay, has frequently explored gay issues in his work. He divides his time between Florida and Tuscany, Italy.

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