Dijkstra, Feynman and Turing. What’s the story behind these esteemed scientists? Who are they and what did they do?

Djikstra 1

Room 1. Djikstra

Dijkstra died at the age of 72 from cancer (Photo from A.M. Turing Awards)

Our first room was named after Edsger Wybe Dijkstra (11 May 1930 – 6 August 2002), a Dutch computer scientist and pioneer of computer science [1].

What is Dijkstra's Algorithm? (GIF from Combinatorica)
What is Dijkstra’s Algorithm? (GIF from Combinatorica)

Best known for: Djikstra’s Algorithm [2]

  • Also known as the shortest-path algorithm
  • Finds the shortest way to move from one place to another 
  • The foundation for the recommended route feature on Google Maps [34].

“Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.”

Did you know? Djikstra was the first Dutch computer programmer [5].

Feynman 2

Room 2. Feynman

Feynman died at 69, after a long battle with cancer (Photo from Britannica)
Feynman died at 69, after a long battle with cancer (Photo from Britannica)

The second room was inspired by Richard Phillips Feynman (11 May 1918 – 15 February 1998) an American theoretical physicist and musician (known for his bongo-playing, made popular by Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory [6]) who worked on the first nuclear bomb [7] and investigated the crash of space shuttle Challenger [8].

What is the Feynman Diagram? (GIF from Medium)
What is the Feynman Diagram? (GIF from Medium)

Best known for: The Feynman diagram [9]

  • Won him the Nobel Prize in Physics 1965 for his work on quantum electrodynamics [10, 11]
  • A simplified visual representation of the mathematical expressions that describe the movements of subatomic particles that facilitates understanding, provides good approximations to reality
  • Contributes to many physicists’ evolving theories of particle interactions today [12].

“The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to… No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it.”

Did you know? The Feynman Lectures on Physics from Feynman’s Caltech lectures is one of the most popular physics lectures, and are now available online for free.

Turing 3

Room 3. Turing

Alan Turing died at the age of 41 from cyanide poisoning (Photo from The New Yorker)
Alan Turing died at the age of 41 from cyanide poisoning (Photo from The New Yorker)

Finally, the third room got its name from the Father of Modern Computer Science, Alan Mathison Turing (he British computer scientist, mathematician, cryptanalyst and theoretical biologist also built the foundations of artificial intelligence and modern computers [13, 14].

An example of how the Turing Machine works (GIF from Gifer)
An example of how the Turing Machine works (GIF from Gifer)

Best known for: The Turing Machine [15]

  • A hypothetical machine with a tape of infinite length where operations are performed and could be used to simulate any algorithmic computation
  • The first concept of a ‘universal computing machine’ – that anything that is computable can be computed by one machine [16]
  • The predecessor of the modern computer that could solve complex computations; used basic data storage and symbol manipulation [17].

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

Did you know? The Imitation Game (2014) is based on a biography of Turing.

Hopefully, this gave you some insight into the brilliant minds behind our Parkway Parade room names! Next up, we’ll be covering the faces behind our King Albert Park Mall rooms.