Bill Tutte-Worthy of Remembrance

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“In all our long history we have never seen a greater day than this. Everyone, man or woman, has done their best.”

Winston Churchill, 8th May 1945

As I sat watching all the pomp and circumstance in Whitehall this morning, I considered all those whose contributions are not so recognised on Remembrance Day.  It would be an impossible task (and indeed a very long blog) to list all those who contributed to the war effort; so today I chose to think of those who through intellect and determination used their brilliant minds to break codes that were believed unbreakable.  Naturally, my mind turns to Bill Tutte and his fellow code breakers at Bletchley Park

(c) BBC

Professor Brian Cox and Captain Jerry Roberts
(c) BBC

Captain Jerry Roberts frequently recounts his experience of being in the same office as Tutte:

“I saw him staring into the middle distance, twiddling his pencil, and making counts on reams of paper; and I used to wonder whether he was getting anything done.  My goodness he was.  It was an extraordinary feat of the mind”. 

Captain Jerry Roberts

Tutte applied the Scientific Method to deduce the logical structure of Lorenz:

 “…by using logic, careful observation and by producing testable hypotheses, he managed to determine exactly how it worked.”

Professor Brian Cox

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Simulation of Tutte’s Periodicity Examination
(c) BBC

Bill Tutte has been described as a shy and unassuming man.  It’s amazing to think of Tutte sat quietly with paper and pencil performing one of the greatest intellectual feats of World War Two. Tutte worked away on the problem for months.  He never gave in.  So today on Remembrance Sunday, let us remember those who fought with intellect and determination; Those who used their brilliant minds to achieve the seemingly unachievable; Those whose efforts contributed to shortening the war and saved countless lives.

For too long these great minds have gone without recognition, with your support we can give Tutte recognition he deserves.

https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/billtuttememorialfund

www.billtuttememorial.org.uk

Author: Claire Butterfield

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2 responses to “Bill Tutte-Worthy of Remembrance

  • Lynn-Marie Early

    I left a poppy at Bill Tutte’s grave on November 11 2013. I live near West Montrose where he is buried and having watched the BBC documentary about code breakers at Bletchley Park I was moved to visit the grave. The local archives and museum had no knowledge of him (or his work) and, from what I have read and deduced, I think he was an extremely private man. However, I agree that some sort of memorial should be erected. I am an English archivist and historian living in Ontario and I am well aware of the importance of the work Bill Tutte carried out. I shall continue to spread the word here.

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