Alan Turing and the bullying of Britain’s geeks

[Republished from The Guardian’s The Notherner Blog]

Celebrations of Alan Turing’s life and work reach a peak this week with the centenary of his birth. The chair of the project, Professor S.Barry Cooper, continues his series for the Guardian Northerner with insights on the torment which the bright but unusual can still suffer at school.

John Turing talks in the family’s reminscences about his younger brother Alan, recalling how the future computer genius was noted for:

bad reports, slovenly habits and unconventional behaviour

The ‘neurotypical’ John says that neither he nor his parents “had the faintest idea that this tiresome, eccentric and obstinate small boy was a budding genius.”

It is still very common for geekishly irritating little boys and girls to suffer misunderstanding and routine bullying at school. Nowadays Alan would probably have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

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