Oh, the things you must have seen…
Sometimes I marvel at the incredible amount of change witnessed in the lifetimes of those living at the very tip top of their golden years. My own grandmothers are a respective 90 and 83-years-old, and both have beheld that strange transformation from horses, steam and zoot suits to terra-bytes, touch screens and (too) smart phones. And as we move ever closer to eternal oneness with our world’s digital (and increasingly creepy) denizens, you might stop and ask yourself: how did all of this begin? Skip the search the engine and find out the story behind the birth of the computer from a flesh and bones human. Author and science historian, George Dyson, will explain the creation of the digital species tonight at the Louisville Free Public Library, presenting his book, Turing’s Cathedral.
Being hailed as “the definitive history of the computer”, Dyson’s latest written release, Turing’s Cathedral, chronicles the minds at work at the Institute for Advanced Study during the 1940s and 1950s – the formative years for what now fits so delicately on the edge of our finger nail. It was this era of research that the seemingly undream-able dream of a one Alan Mathison Turing got its first taste of reality: the concept of “a universal machine”. Turing’s brainchild would go on to father our beloved computers, digital television, modern genetics and all around completely alter the world as our grandparents once knew it.
Technology now changes with such a startling amount of vim and vigor that even young and hip twenty-somethings like myself – someone who should understand these newfangled contraptions inherently – find the pace far too rapid to stay abreast (my cellular telephone, just FYI, is still only of average intelligence). Curious about the seed behind the digital leviathan? Join Dyson tonight at 7pm at the Louisville Free Public Library’s Main branch and discuss Turing’s dreams and the scientific journey that led from the abacus to the iphone.
The Louisville Free Public Library's Main branch is located at 301 York Street. This event is free, but tickets are required; call (502) 574-1644 for information and reservations.
Image: Courtesy of Louisville Free Public Library Website www.lfpl.org