Turing's Cathedral

  • by George Dyson
  • Narrated by Arthur Morey
  • 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Legendary historian and philosopher of science George Dyson vividly re-creates the scenes of focused experimentation, incredible mathematical insight, and pure creative genius that gave us computers, digital television, modern genetics, models of stellar evolution - in other words, computer code.
In the 1940s and '50s, a group of eccentric geniuses - led by John von Neumann - gathered at the newly created Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Their joint project was the realization of the theoretical universal machine, an idea that had been put forth by mathematician Alan Turing. This group of brilliant engineers worked in isolation, almost entirely independent from industry and the traditional academic community. But because they relied exclusively on government funding, the government wanted its share of the results: the computer that they built also led directly to the hydrogen bomb. George Dyson has uncovered a wealth of new material about this project, and in bringing the story of these men and women and their ideas to life, he shows how the crucial advancements that dominated twentieth-century technology emerged from one computer in one laboratory, where the digital universe as we know it was born.

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What the Critics Say

“The most powerful technology of the last century was not the atomic bomb, but software - and both were invented by the same folks. Even as they were inventing it, the original geniuses imagined almost everything software has become since. At long last, George Dyson delivers the untold story of software’s creation. It is an amazing tale brilliantly deciphered.” (Kevin Kelly, cofounder of WIRED magazine, author of What Technology Wants)
“It is a joy to read George Dyson’s revelation of the very human story of the invention of the electronic computer, which he tells with wit, authority, and insight. Read Turing’s Cathedral as both the origin story of our digital universe and as a perceptive glimpse into its future.” (W. Daniel Hillis, inventor of The Connection Machine, author of The Pattern on the Stone)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Needed an editor

Would you try another book from George Dyson and/or Arthur Morey?

No.


What was most disappointing about George Dyson???s story?

What was most disappointing about the story is that there was no story. At different points in the book it seems a story of Von Neumann, the Institute of Advanced Study, the development of computer technology, a hundred other scientists and engineers, etc. It ends up being none of them. It seems more like a collection of notebooks that contained the potential to form a good book or story.

I was even hoping to learn a bit more of the technology of computers, but all explanations were given in the language of engineers. The book on the Eniac available on audible is much better.


Did Arthur Morey do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

The performance was fine.


What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Couldn't have been much more disappointed.


Any additional comments?

Save your credits.

Read full review

- Monte Johnston "...master of none"

Needed an editor

Would you try another book from George Dyson and/or Arthur Morey?

No.


What was most disappointing about George Dyson’s story?

What was most disappointing about the story is that there was no story. At different points in the book it seems a story of Von Neumann, the Institute of Advanced Study, the development of computer technology, a hundred other scientists and engineers, etc. It ends up being none of them. It seems more like a collection of notebooks that contained the potential to form a good book or story.

I was even hoping to learn a bit more of the technology of computers, but all explanations were given in the language of engineers. The book on the Eniac available on audible is much better.


Did Arthur Morey do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

The performance was fine.


What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Couldn't have been much more disappointed.


Any additional comments?

Save your credits.

Read full review

- Monte

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-06-2012
  • Publisher: Random House Audio