Les bulletins scolaires d’Alan Turing

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« Rachel Hassall, the archivist at Sherborne, where Turing was at school, has transcribed his entire school reports, printed below.

It’s interesting to see how he changes from an untidy and careless mathematician to a distinguished scholar.

At the end of his first term headmaster O’ Hanlon writes : “He has his own furrow to plough & may not meet with general sympathy…”

At the end of his second term the maths teacher writes that he “should do well if he can quicken up a little.” Er, yes…

O’Hanlon ends by saying that he will watch Turing’s future career with much interest.

But no one will have predicted quite how his scientific achievements changed the world. »

Quelques extraits :

Age 14.5 MICHAELMAS TERM 1926.
 MATHEMATICS Works well. He is still very untidy. He must try to improve in this respect.

Age 14.8 LENT TERM 1927.
 MATHEMATICS Very good. He has considerable powers of reasoning and should do well if he can quicken up a little and improve his style.

Age 14.9 LENT TERM 1927.
 MATHEMATICS A very good term’s work, but his style is dreadful and his paper always dirty.

Age 14.11 SUMMER TERM 1927.
 MATHEMATICS Not very good. He spends a good deal of time apparently in investigations in advanced mathematics to the neglect of his elementary work. A sound ground work is essential in any subject. His work is dirty.

Age 15.1 SUMMER TERM 1927.
 MATHEMATICS Despite absence he has done a really remarkable examination (1st paper). A mathematician I think.

Age 15.6 MICHAELMAS TERM 1927.
 MATHEMATICS I think he has been somewhat tidier, though there is still plenty of room for improvement. A keen & able mathematician.

Age 15.8 LENT TERM 1928.
 MATHEMATICS Easily the best mathematician in the set. His position is caused by untidiness and carelessness due largely to impatience to let on something great as soon as he has seen his way through a problem.

Age 16.0 SUMMER TERM 1928.
 MATHEMATICS He is now revising the work for the additional Mathematics Papers of the School certificate.

Age 16.1 SUMMER TERM 1928.
 MATHEMATICS He has been reading for the additional Mathematical Certificate papers more or less on his own, & should do well.

 MATHEMATICS This term has been spent, & the next two terms will have to be spent, in filling in the many gaps in his knowledge & organising it. He thinks very rapidly & is apt to be “brilliant”, but unsound in some of his work. He is seldom defeated by a problem, but his methods are often crude, cumbersome & untidy. But thoroughness & polish will no doubt come in time.

 MATHEMATICS His work on Higher Certificate papers shows distinct promise, but he must realise that ability to put a neat & tidy solution on paper – intelligible & legible – is necessary for a first-rate mathematician.

Age 18.1 SUMMER TERM 1930.
 MATHEMATICS He has faced the uninspiring task of revision & consolidation of his previous knowledge with determination, and I think he has succeeded in improving his style of written work, which is more convincing & less sketchy than last year. If he does not get flustered & relapse into slip-shod work, he should do very well in the H.C. this year.

 MATHEMATICS A really able mathematician. His trouble is his untidiness & poor style, but he has tried hard to improve in this. He sometimes fails over a simple problem by trying to do it by complicated methods, instead of by an elementary one.

Age 18.8 LENT TERM 1931.
 MATHEMATICS He has done some post-scholarship reading without encountering any serious difficulties. He should be able to take the Higher Certificate next July in his stride.

Age 19 SUMMER TERM 1931.
 MATHEMATICS He has gone on with his reading as well as revising the elementary work for the Higher Certificate, & I expect him to get a Distinction with ease. He has my best wishes for an equally successful career at Cambridge.

Source : http://alexbellos.com/ ?p=1674

Mis en ligne le 22 février 2012 par Charlotte BOUCKAERT