The Imitation Game

Wonderful Bletchley Park work by year 6 Girls at Surbiton High School 

I was invited to Surbiton High School earlier this year to speak about my book Saving Bletchley Park. The year 6 girls and teachers went on a trip to Bletchley Park a few weeks ago. Today I was invited back to see all the work they had done and hear about their trip. They had made Anderson shelters, morse code machines, cardboard suitcases and had dressed up in 1940s clothes, it was fabulous. Cross curricula activity at its best 😀👍🎉

    
    
    
    
    
     

Saving Bletchley Park – book launch at Waterstones Piccadilly 

Last night was one of the best nights of my life! My book Saving Bletchley Park was launched at Waterstones Piccadilly in central London. It was an amazing evening with speeches, a reading from my book, tears, drinks, great conversation and lots of laughter 😀 Thanks a million to everyone that came and made it such a special night ❤️   

    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   

UK/US Special Relationship – Winfield House roundtable

Enjoyed contributing to an extremely interesting round table discussion about the UK/US Special Relationship this morning at the U.S. Ambassador in London Matthew Barzun‘s residence Winfield House in Regent’s Park 😀  The conversation ranged from women to technology, from art to Bletchley Park and beyond. Looking forward to some practical next steps to take things to the next level.

My day: 18th March 2016 – Saving Bletchley Park book signing, lunch at the Shard celebrating my sister Sarah’s birthday and “Performing for the camera” at Tate Modern. 

Had a lovely day yesterday signing copies of my book “Saving Bletchley Park” in 3 branches of Foyles, lunch at the Shard celebrating my sister Sarah’s birthday, and then the “Performing for the camera” exhibition at the Tate Modern 😀❤️😀
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   

My International Women’s Day 2016 in pictures #IWD2016

My #IWD2016 started with a keynote at King Games in Soho, what a great bunch of people, and supercool offices.   
    
    
    
    
Quick catchup with @lloyddavis and @technokitten for an #IWD2016 podcast    
Bumped into Professor Sarah Martindale from Nottingham University outside the House of Commons. 

Spent 2 hours live tweeting the #IWD2016 debate for the 50:50 Parliament campaign. Got chucked out for taking a photo, then was let back in to continue. 

  
 

Went to the private view of Jess de Wahls fabulous #STOPJECTIFY exhibition at the Different Gallery on Percy Street in London. 
   
    
    
 

A wonderful #IWD2016 with so many friends old and new. Happy #IWD2016! 😀👍🎉

Saving Bletchley Park at Chester Literary Festival

Last night Steve Colgan and I gave a @savingbletchley book talk at Chester Literary Festival. We travelled up together on the train from London together during the afternoon. 

 
Arriving at Chester station around 5pm 😀

  

After dropping our bags at the hotel we made our way over to Chester Town Hall. 

  

I was so excited as it was the first time I’d given a talk at a literary festival, and the first time I’d read from my book in public. 

  
Steve was great to be on stage with. 

  
And the audience were great too, they asked lots of good questions. 

  

Questions about the veterans, social media, crowdfunding, cryptography, Enigma, computing and much more 😀

   It was a very enjoyable 90 minutes. 

  Afterwards Steve and I took a selfie

  Then walked through a very beautiful Chester city centre. 

   

  

 Before arriving at Hickory’s restaurant by the river for some delicious ribs 👍

   

 And frozen yogurt 😀

This morning we made our way to Chester station before parting ways, Steve going back off to London

  And me to Manchester, catching up on a bit of reading and knitting on the way 

   

   

Thanks Mark Carline for the pics not take by me 😀👍  

US CTO on Representation of Women in The Imitation Game

It’s so great to see the awesome US CTO Megan Smith speak about representation of women in the film “The Imitation Game” as not being representative of what actually happened at Bletchley Park during WW2.

White House CTO calls for open source APIs, visibility for women

“Smith pointed out that Joan Clarke, the code-breaker depicted in the recent film The Imitation Game, was just one of numerous female mathematicians who worked at the U.K.’s World War II lab known as Bletchley Park. Likewise, Smith observed that women’s contributions to the development of the Mac were been scrubbed from the movie Jobs, and from the space mission in Apollo.

The upshot, Smith suggested, is that a perceived dearth of women in STEM professions can be partly addressed by ensuring the proper depiction of those who are already working in them.”

Go Megan! 🙂

In November 2011 I was honoured to take Megan, along with Reid Hoffman, Julie Hanna and DJ Patil around Bletchley Park with then Bletchley Park CEO Simon Greenish. I met Megan when I approached her after she spoke on a panel at NESTA in 2010 and asked her to help Bletchley Park to buy the Turing papers which were then up for auction.

Megan Smith, Reid Hoffman, Julie Hanna and DJ Patil checking out the Turing exhibition at Bletchley Park

Megan Smith, Reid Hoffman, Julie Hanna and DJ Patil checking out the Turing exhibition at Bletchley Park

We had a wonderful day together, Google stepped in to help save the Turing papers for Bletchley Park, and went on to support Bletchley Park and The National Museum of Computing in many ways  🙂  #serendipity

The Imitation Game + Alan Turing + Joan Clarke: reviews, facts, books, links, useful information

Have you seen The Imitation Game starring Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch? Have you wondered what is historically accurate in the film, what is true and what false? Is Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Alan Turing accurate? Does Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Joan Clarke get over her true character?

This blog post is a collection of links to information that is related to The Imitation Game and will hopefully go some way towards answering questions that you may have about Turing, The Imitation Game and Bletchley Park.

I have been involved with Bletchley Park and known about Alan Turing for over 10 years. I spearheaded a campaign to save Bletchley Park in 2008 which I write about in detail in my forthcoming book Saving Bletchley Park: the story of Bletchley Park and the campaigns to save it. Bletchley Park is now a museum open to the public, do visit if you can and don’t forget The National Museum of Computing next door.

REVIEWS OF THE IMITATION GAME

I wrote a review of The Imitation Game that @pubstrat on Twitter said is

One of the most thought provoking film reviews I have ever read.

Here’s my review written after seeing the film and being on a panel afterwards at the Phoenix Cinema in London: The Imitation Game: Art Imitating Real Life?

Screenshot 2015-01-02 13.55.31

There are many other reviews including:

“Broken codes, both strategic and social” The New York Times

“Why you should watch The Imitation Game and why you might want to skip it” Tech Republic

An engrossing and poignant thriller” The Guardian

What’s the best review that you have read and why? Do post a comment below and I’ll add it to the list 🙂

ruth bourne phoenix panel

Veteran Ruth Bourne, 2 Turing experts and me on stage after a screening of The Imitation Game in London

BOOKS ABOUT ALAN TURING + JOAN CLARKE

The book that inspired the film is Andrew Hodges Alan Turing: The Enigma a definitive biography of Turing. Very few of us would have heard of Alan Turing if it were not for Andrew.

Alan Turing: his work and impact by Barry Cooper who relentlessly promoted and campaigned for more recognition for Turing and his work by organising the Turing Centenary celebrations in 2012.

Alan M. Turing written by Turing’s mother Sara Turing.

There’s also Alan Turing e l’intelligenza delle macchine by Teresa Numerico in Italian.

I’m eagerly awaiting a book by Kerry Howard “Women Codebreakers at Bletchley Park” the story of three female codebreakers: Mavis Batey, Joan Clarke and Margaret Rock. Kerry has recently had contact with Joan Clarke’s relatives which is very exciting news. The book will be out later this month (January 2015).  There’s also lots of info on Kerry’s “Bletchley Park Research” website.

FACT OR FICTION? WHAT IS TRUE AND WHAT IS FALSE?

Steve Colgan and I put together

10 things you need to know about The Imitation Game“, which looks at what was true and false in the film.

Screenshot 2015-01-02 12.26.26

We also did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session which is a public Q and A about The Imitation Game and Bletchley Park: “IamA Dr Sue Black, I started a campaign to save Bletchley Park as featured in The Imitation Game. I am joined by co-author of my book Saving Bletchley Park and QI Elf Steve Colgan and we are experts on the history of Bletchley Park and Alan Turning AMA!

FIRST HAND STORIES ABOUT ALAN TURING

I, of course, have not met Alan Turing, but have met several people who did over the years of my involvement with Bletchley Park. Turing’s mentor at Bletchley was the codebreaker Max Newman. Newman also testified for Turing when he was sentenced and prosecuted. I’ve spoken several times to William Newman, Max Newman’s son about Alan Turing and what he remembers of him. William told me stories of when he was a child and Turing used to visit. I relate two of these in Robert Lewellyn’s Carpool interview with me from a few years ago about Turing and Bletchley Park and it’s significance.

CAN YOU HELP? WHAT’S THE BEST LINK YOU HAVE FOUND?

I will be updating this page regularly, this is just a start with information that I know of. Please do add useful links in the comments below and I’ll add them to the page as we go.