Crack Turing’s code at MOSI’s Half Term events

Wednesday 23 May 2012

A special code-breaking game has been developed by MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester) to celebrate the Alan Turing Centenary, as part of its Half Term events programme for families (2-10 June). Turing was famous for cracking the Enigma Code during World War 2, so the aim of the game is to crack the enemy code and save ships during wartime.

The ‘Loose Lips Sink Ships’ game is one of a series of free events for young families, themed on Alan Turing and computing. There will be a historic character who tells the story of Alan Turing and visitors can try their hand at cracking the Enigma Code on a retro computer. There will be workshops to look at the spirals in sunflower heads, as studied by Turing, demonstrations of the replica 1948 Baby computer, and a chance to make your own railway robot to race against others, in the style of the original train trials for the 1830 Railway. Other activities include storytelling, art workshops and games.

Presenter Team Leader Gareth Redston said: “The programme includes unique games created by MOSI staff on the theme of Alan Turing and computing. This is a great chance to have some fun and learn about Turing’s pioneering work with code-breaking, as well as the early days of computing, maths and nature.”

Alan Turing was born on 23 June 1912 and there are celebrations of his life and work this year throughout Manchester and beyond. The events are also linked to a series of activities in the Turing’s Sunflowers project, which aims to analyse thousands of sunflower heads to continue Turing’s research into mathematical patterns in nature.

Turing was famous for his code-breaking skills and as a founder of computer science and artificial intelligence. Later he became fascinated with the mathematical patterns found in stems, leaves and seeds - a study known as phyllotaxis. The spirals on sunflower heads often conform to a Fibonacci number (see notes), and Turing was one of a number of scientists who tried to explain ‘Fibonacci phyllotaxis’, but he died before the work was complete.

MOSI’s Turing Centenary Half Term events run from 2-10 June and are free. For more information look up www.mosi.org.uk or www.turingsunflowers.com

For media enquiries please contact: Sarah Roe, MOSI press and publicity officer on Tel: 0161 606 0176, m: 07847 372647

Notes to editors

• Turing’s Sunflowers is a MOSI initiative in association with the Manchester Science Festival, with the support of The University of Manchester and Manchester City Council. Look up www.turingsunflowers.com

• MOSI is the winner of the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year in the 2011 Manchester Tourism Awards