Turing’s Bombe Tops List of Engineering Feats
According to the BBC, Members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers have voted the bombe machine their favourite recipient of the Engineering Heritage Award. The Engineering Heritage Awards have ran since 1984 and were designed to celebrate feats of engineering and increase public awareness of engineering both past and present. Members were asked to vote for their favourite artefact from among a total of 99 previous winners of the award, in a new survey designed to mark the 30th anniversary of the awards.
The bombe was a revolutionary code-breaking machine, developed at Bletchley Park by Alan Turing during World War Two, that was instrumental in breaking the German Enigma Code. Indeed, the machine helped to decipher encrypted messages, providing vital intelligence for the allies. Estimates suggest that the development and use of these machines may have helped cut the war by up to two years, saving many lives.
The Engineering and Technology magazine quotes CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust Iain Standen as stating that “I am delighted that the achievements of Turing, Welchman and Keen are being recognised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in this way. The Bombe machine industrialised the process of breaking Enigma, enabling the WW2 Codebreakers to decipher high volumes of messages at speed and while still relevant.”
The Concorde came a close second in the vote and indeed this plane itself was a marvel of technology and engineering when it was introduced back in the 1960’s, capable of achieving staggering speeds of up to 1,300mph.Other prior winners that fared well in the poll included The Rolls Royce RB211 engine and the Mallard locomotive.
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