1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

An Autistic Genius Saves the World: The Alan Turing Story

By July 30, 2006

A regular responder to this blog, has mentioned Alan Turing a number of times. For readers who don't know much about Turing, he was an extraordinary mind -- and, by most accounts, the inventor of the electronic computer. He was also almost certainly autistic.

Turing was an English boy who, by good luck, happened into the right people at the right time. His genius for mathematics was discovered by the British military as World War Two was in progress. At that time, the Germans were using an extraordinarily complex communications code which the best Allied minds couldn't break. The British created a project at Bletchley Park (about an hour from London) which was totally dedicated to the work of breaking and deciphering the German Code. Called the Enigma Project, it was critical to the war effort.

Turing, considered by his peers to be an "eccentric," had an extradordinary gift for ciphers. At Bletchley, he was allowed the personal and intellectual freedom to work in his own way, and as a result he became the one man who could break the German Enigma code. In essence, he "reverse engineered" the GermanEnigma Machine and broke the enemy code. To work out the details of his decoder, he shut himself into his room for days -- lowering a pail out the window for meals. On his own, during a two-week period, he literally invented the basic design of the electronic computer (Colossus). Once Colossus was actually built from Turing's plans, intercepted German messages could be read and understood -- and counterplans could be made to win the war.

One story is told of Turing, who had a bad case of hay fever, cycling into the next town to buy a few necessaries -- wearing a gas mask. To Turing, who was almost certainly autistic, the gas mask was a logical preventive measure to keep away the pollen. To the people of Bletchley, of course, a military scientist in a gas mask was a terrifying sight!

Sadly for Turing, the combination of his autism and his homosexuality was his undoing. Though his world could comprehend an "eccentric genius," it could not handle an openly gay man. Although he was honored for his achievements, he was finally dishonored for his sexuality. After WWII ended the Colossus computers (many were built) were destroyed under orders that everything done at Bletchley Park was to be kept secret for thirty-five years. In 1996, however, the Colossus computer was rebuilt at the Bletchley Park museum.

Anyone interested in learning more about Alan Turing may want to read his biography, or perhaps view the BBC videos made a few years ago. Derek Jacobi starred as Turing, and did a wonderful job recreating the autistic savant who, very possibly, was instrumental in winning the second world war.

July 31, 2006 at 12:57 pm
(1) Rich Shull says:

Perhaps the Best Autism Book of all time was THE ENGINMA by Andrew Hodges and the related PBS Show called Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitmore. BOTH exlain the odd autisitc life of ALan Turing. Author Hodges never realized he wrote and Autism book but by not leaving one detial unturned in Alan’s life he inadvertently explains Alan’s Autisitc life. Just as our working autism was like Alan’s and just below the surface no one knew Alan As anything but a strange guy with good ideas carried out in an odd mannor. He was never labeled Autistic he took is own life in 1954.

I have read The Enginma and despite me NOT being a math genius his autism Logic was Clear. As people like Alan in our Anthropology have met online over the years we realize and have figured out a thought process that has never been in a text book before.

Alan was pretty social in a lot of respects and even drove a 31 Model A Ford when he was in America for a time . He had “SUPER” clearance from the White House and had access to every top secert project dealing with the war effort and computers. Once people got to know him and as he learned a few social skills he blended in. Like us he had the intense social skills class not everyone in Autism is privilaged to have.

It was noted in the book he was horrible at School NEVER paid Attention (lack of Eye contact) and despite that he always manged to get by. It would not be real obvious to the Autism Experts of Today but his life worked so well BECAUSE OF the Splinter skills he was allowed to develop.

Alan was a great Runner as well and that to helped explain our Pain Tolerance, He was quoted in the book as runing and runing and not even being sore or suffereing from a pulled muscle like his team mates were. He told his Mom in a letter they are in misery and I am fine! People Of Our Anthropology share the same ideal and heaven forbid if we have been injured in a car crash or something we feel precious little of our pain. I used to think I felt pain as normal until I was injured and discovered the X Rays and the PAin were not equal. Others suffeing Injuries also “know that” but still people in our Anthropology that have never been hurt think ,like they do feel pain. At one time the Pain Tolerance was noted in Autism Diagnosis standards.

I have invented the Turing Motor, Named for Alan Turing and I use his very same autism logic to build an internal combustion motor that is 70 % efficient and very green. Like Alan’s Splinter skills that made his computer possible my Splinter skills make the Turing Motor Possible. We share the same autism we always did and the same thoughts the same insight and the same double -blind learning experience people have had for centuries only thing is, Modern Autism got a hold of the wrong end of the stick and now they can’t admit to us with ease.

I HOPE that some day this autism logic will prove to be the building blocks of the human mind. Once a few people figure out what it is we do to think they will not only understand autism but also how we come up with so many good ideas. We have to water our thoughts down to be understood ,although the modern idea might be we are too stupid to have locial thoughts- see what I mean by the wrong end of the stick? By the way, we all do more levels of autism thought several steps above what Temple wrote about!

On my Blog Pre Rain Man Autism I have quoted lots of pages from the book The Enginma and explaind how the autism logic played a factor. Look for posts from a few months back on Alan Turing.

Rich Shull,


August 1, 2006 at 1:21 am
(2) Rich Shull says:

The Turing Motor?

The Turing Motor is an autistically designed car motor. It is about 70% efficient a far cry from the modern motor,that is really more than an early model “T” motor which is only 32% efficent. Few people understand the model”T” motor including Henry Ford himself, he was just tinkering and something worked. Via my keen Autisitc Hearing I was able to listen to a motor and glean a different education than others did. Instead of Parts replacers we need decibel meters in repair shops.

Autisitcally, the motor is born ,bread and refined via picture thoughts and if you think of computer amimation and you know that version of our autism thoughts is more than able to design and develop and invent. If we are really good our good idea becomes something real. Honestly we have to water it down so it can be understood and even tolerated. Thus The Turing Motor is desigend from the flame of combustion backwards. It has no up and down moving parts, rather all parts spin the same direction. It is cooled with nitrogen. It will idle at 2-3 RPM and fly at several 1000 RPM. It is desigend to use Modern Super lubes and combustion oil (dirty) is kept seperate from lube oils. A catlyist is added in the late combustion process to help with efficency and green issues. It will spin 2-3-4-5 times with every firing.

I guess it is as radical as the autism that designed it but it seems Turing fathered the computer and that had never been done before either. From an Autism point of view it is our everyday thought our everyday best if you will. People in general don’t understand Autism so it is just as likely the stuff it creates has to be simply ‘wild and working’ before it gets a nod from the community. I have made models and explained the idea all to the delight and laughter of many people- that is a great sign actually, it must mean I’m on to something and I love the idea people say it can’t be done!

This motor will get a reasonable car 100 mpg and a nasty enviromently unfriendly Sport ulitity vechicle aroung 30 mpg and still have towing power. It will be very green and the tail pipe will be touchable and it will not need a catylic converter to meet emission standards. It will run on Gas. As America cringes on being crippled with her gas prices sky high this motor could bring back the ‘glory days’ of cheap motoring.

Of Course the owners manual of this motor like the cover of Thinking in Pictures will feature our obession picture. Temple was photographed with her cattle , my 1962 Pontiac would be included in this venture. Autisitcally , Splinter skill wise and obession wise I was addicted to this Pontiac and I was unaware I saved the worlds worst car- MOST- were junked by 1967. The Frames splint in half, The motors fell apart and the transmissions were just as bad. My Pontiac has a handmade engine , redesigned Slim Jim Transmisison and even sports a new frame. Autisitcally I was the only one on earth to even dream of fixing this heap and despite the objections of my family which finally gave away to oh that is just Rich and his project. That intense life long project fostered my car knowlege and the Turing Motor. Today the car is in one piece and runs well.

Despite what it is ,The Turing Motor will simply have to be reverse engineered, meaning I will have to build it and then present it others and say here build it. Autism for some of us has one BIG flaw what we do in Picture thought is nearly impossible to recreate in real life. I have been able to build EVERYTHING I set out to build, but, if only I could pound my head on the drafting table and it would act like a rubber stamp I could present the world with 100′s of drawings and views of this motor.

This begs the question of Autism and Head banging? Are aspies simply trying to get their picture thoughts out? Are they trying to move or change that picture thought? Remember our autism thoughts are invisable to you. I can see where it would be possible for an aspie to have complete picture thoughts and NOT have the ability to control them or make them work for you. It would Seem Picture thoughts are natural for us and they have never been in a text book yet and autism someday will simply be a conversion process between picture thought you never see , and speach as you know it.

Rich Shull, Author Autism Pre Rain Man Autism, Inventor of the Turing Motor

March 16, 2011 at 5:57 pm
(3) Alyson Bradlay AsPlanet says:

I feel that many on the spectrum see order within patterns and for me anyway a natural process seems to be to figure out puzzles etc.. and decoding information I feel in part maybe the way we tend to over focus, almost obsessively helps. As for seeing in pictures, I do not feel everyone on the autism spectrum does, the ones I know that do like Donna Williams, Temple Grandin etc… have dyslexia as well as myself, but not everyone of course on the autism spectrum does. I also have advanced processing skills and I scan in information. What I am saying on the autism spectrum we are all different and while some are able to do some things, othersare not on the spectrum!

Maybe we should not attach such differences to just autism as there are individuals not on the spectrum that are differently minded, eccentric for various reasons, mental and intellectual differences apart form of course dyslexia, bipolar comes to mind, as does autistic logic. But often its those with a combination of various differences that are best at decoding etc…

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Autism Spectrum Disorders

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.