Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

David Kaiser writes:

A decade ago, digging through a physicist’s archive, I stumbled on a document that has haunted me ever since: a hand-typed table of integrals seemingly little different from the ones I’d kept by me as a student. The familiarity of the contents jarred with the table’s front page. Only 31 copies of the table had been printed, the recipients listed on the cover. The table, dated 24 June 1947, had been prepared to accompany a classified report. The distribution lists for the two documents were a close match; nearly everyone who was issued with the table had security clearance to handle secret defence-related materials.

(LRB 27 September 2012)

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