Laura Singleton, Press Officer, describes an extraordinary celebration of codebreaker and mathematician Alan Turing at an exclusive screening of the new film, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch
Alan Turing’s remarkable story is “heart-breaking and shocking, but important to tell” said Morten Tyldum, Director of The Imitation Game, at a special preview screening at the Science Museum`s IMAX theatre.
Turing was “a puzzle and a mystery to explore” continued Tyldum when asked about his inspiration for making the film. He “wasn’t just a mathematician, he was a philosopher. It’s a tragedy he couldn’t stay with us longer” he added during a conversation with Dave Calhoun, Global Film Editor of Time Out about the making of the film, to a packed audience.
The conversation touched on the importance of authenticity – by finding locations (Turing’s old school and Bletchley Park) that worked best to tell the story, and praised the efforts of the actors for their emotional performances.
Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs, began proceedings by welcoming guests and thanking Studio Canal for choosing the Science Museum as the venue for the screening. He declared that “the making of this film represents yet another welcome sign that Turing is at long last getting the recognition that he so richly deserves.”
He spoke of the growing public recognition of Turing’s incredible achievements, demonstrated by a recent public poll, in which over 50,000 people voted, in which Turing’s Universal machine emerged as the most important innovation in science and technology in the past century. The vote demonstrated that “even arcane mathematics can garner popular support”, which the Museum is keen to exploit in the forthcoming Mathematics gallery opening in 2016.
He then moved onto Benedict Cumberbatch’s visit to the Museum’s award-winning Turing exhibition to help his preparation for the role of Turing and the Pilot ACE computer, now one of the star objects in the new Information Age gallery, before giving a warm welcome to Tyldum.
At an earlier drinks reception in the Information Age gallery, an Enigma machine, brought out specially for the event, attracted crowds as Tyldum was joined by members of Turing’s family to pose for photographs.
The reception provided VIP guests including Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, science writer Marcus Chown and journalist and former Science Museum Trustee Janet Street-Porter, with an opportunity to marvel at the Pilot ACE computer and many of the other objects in the new gallery.