We're all familiar with Alan Turing's work in mathematics, code-breaking, computing and AI - or at least you should be if you've been reading this blog or paying any attention to The Alan Turing Year. However, most people are less familiar with Turing's pioneering work on biological morphogenesis. The Manchester Museum currently has a special exhibition, called Alan Turing and Life's Enigma, which, "Inspired by 1950s design and combining Alan Turing’s notes with museum objects, this exhibition documents Turing’s investigation into one of the great mysteries of nature: how complex shapes and patterns arise from simple balls of cells."
If, like me, you can't get to the exhibition I recommend looking at the Biology Curator's recent blog post, which does an excellent job of giving you a feel for the exhibition. I was particularly interested to see the influences on Turing's work and that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had a productive effect on him, and was not just limited to the poisoned apple with which he committed suicide.