Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas
detail: The Letter 'N' by Stephen Johnson

Cryptograph: An Exhibition for Alan Turing

March 24 - July 22, 2012 | Gallery 318 North

Cryptograph is organized in conjunction with the many celebrations taking place around the world in honor of the centenary of Alan Turing (1912-1954), the brilliant British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and pioneering computer scientist.

Turing’s world-changing innovations include the Turing Machine, a conceptual machine that builds on the notion of the algorithm and lays the foundation of modern computing. As a cryptanalyst during World War II, Turing’s breakthroughs in logic allowed him to decipher the German encrypting device known as the Enigma Machine which was used extensively in communication between German U-boats. Turing was also deeply involved in the idea of “Machine Intelligence,” and he developed a test for artificial intelligence that is still in use today. Late in his career Turing became fascinated with the field of mathematical biology, a field that explores the mathematical underpinnings of morphogenesis, the origins and evolution of biological form.

The exhibition draws from the Spencer’s permanent collections seeking works that resonate with the kinds of questions that drove Turing’s research: finding meaning in patterns, and finding connections between mathematics and computing, intelligence and natural form. The exhibition is co-sponsored by and was conceived in consultation and collaboration with KU’s Information and Telecommunication Technology Center and the Biodiversity Institute.



For More on Alan Turing:


Online version of the exhibited book by Michael Winkler:


Public Programs

4.6.12
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Gallery Talk: SMA intern Lindsey Waugh on The Elegant Equation: Intersections of art and mathematics in works from the Cryptograph Exhibition honoring Alan Turing
12:00 – 1:00 PM / Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 318
Please join Lindsey Waugh, Andew W. Mellon Intern, Academic Programs, for "The Elegant Equation: Intersections of art and mathematics in works from the Cryptograph exhibition honoring Alan Turing."
5.17.12
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Lecture: Professor Perry Alexander and Curator Steve Goddard on Cryptograph: An Exhibition for Alan Turing
6:30 – 7:30 PM / Kansas City Public Library
The Spencer's Steve Goddard and KU engineering and computer science professor Perry Alexander will speak about the world of early computer scientist Alan Turing, the subject of the Museum's Cryptograph: An Exhibition for Alan Turing. Cryptograph examines the question that drove Turing's research: finding meaning in patterns. Goddard is the Museum's senior curator and curator of prints and drawings, and a professor of art history; Alexander is director of KU's Information & Communications Technology Center, and a professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

Sponsored By: Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas City Public Library

6.17.12
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Activity: Cryptographs!
1:00 – 3:00 PM / Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 317 Central Court, Gallery 318, Front Lawn
Spend a captivating and fun-filled afternoon at the Spencer discovering a world of hidden secrets, puzzles, and cryptographs in the Museum’s collection and a special exhibition honoring Alan Turing (1912-1954), the brilliant British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and pioneering computer scientist. Try your hand at making ink blot paintings, create landscripts, search for clues hidden in the details in works of art, enjoy face painting, puzzles and many more activities. Artist Stephen Johnson will talk about his work at 1:30 PM. No registration necessary. All ages welcome.

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