Thursday, July 23, 2015

War, computers, history and hollywood

It is pretty rare that you have a Hollywood movie with a mathematician as the central character!
My son and I watched The Imitation Game. It is loosely based on the life of the mathematician Alan Turing and his involvement with cracking the German Enigma code in World War II. It is entertaining and engaging and highlights how poorly Turing was treated by the government.

Like most Hollywood movies "based on a true story" it is not historically accurate. Peter Woit is particularly critical because it has a simplistic representation of how the code was cracked. He suggests if you really want to know about Turing you should read the biography that inspired the movie. Previously, I posted about  Elizabeth: the Golden Age and its historical inaccuracies. The perspective of Cate Blanchett was:
"It's terrifying that we are growing up with this very illiterate bunch of children, who are somehow being taught that film is fact, when in fact it's invention. Hopefully though an historical film will inspire people to go and read about the history. But in the end it is a work of history and selection."

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