As you may have seen, some key papers from British computer scientist and wartime codebreaker Alan Turing are up for auction today at Christie’s in London. Dr Turing is a hero to many of us at Google for his pioneering work on algorithms and the development of computer science. (He’s also an important figure for many across the world who face homophobic attacks and bullying, an issue that we have spoken about elsewhere.)

Why are these papers so important? Dr Sue Black, a computer scientist at University College London and a key campaigner for Bletchley Park, where Dr Turing worked, explains: “The lot includes codebreaker Max Newman's copies of many of Turing's papers. Some of the papers have on them comments from Newman, a friend of Turing’s who testified in his defence at his trial. These papers belong at Bletchley Park, home of the codebreakers, and where these two codebreakers worked together side by side, helping to save millions of lives during World War II.”

Sue asked Google for support in purchasing the papers for Bletchley Park, which we agree is clearly the right place to house them. As has been reported earlier today, we are backing the bid with a contribution of $100,000 towards a successful purchase.

There’s still a long way to go to raise all the money required; we hope that others will be able to come forward too. The deadline for contributions to the bid has been extended until 2pm GMT today. Anyone interested in supporting it should contact Sue directly, or go to

Posted by Simon Meacham, Developer Advocate