Letters/Copy letter

Archive Unit

Scope and Content

An exchange of letters relating to a teenage prodigy's contribution to linear algebra:

/1 A letter from Chapman Pincher, journalist, Daily Express, to Frank Roberts, UCL, enclosing a document on the theory of complex numbers by Lionel March, a Hove schoolboy

/2 Frank Roberts to Turing, 24 January 1953, asks if he could look at March's paper which is too advanced for him, and whether "it is a genuine contribution to Mathematics". Also praises Turing's paper on morphogenesis.

/3 Copy letter to Roberts, 3 February 1953, Turing feels that March's paper is "really quite interesting though not really very new", Turing asks for his details so can contact March, prefers that Daily Express is not involved as will make a story of it. Thanks for the comments on morphogenesis paper, which he thinks is important, but "most biologists don't know enough mathematics to see what it is about".

/4 Daily Express forward contact details to Roberts; /5 Roberts encloses /4 to Turing;

/6 Turing's letter to March, comments on the "rebmun algebra" and explains it is a form of linear algebra which has now been researched intensively, suspects March was trying to generalise a complex number, which has done with "imagination and competence".

The schoolboy in question, Lionel March, b.1934, later became a distinguished architectural theorist.