The canonical wisdom in most computability textbooks is that there were several researchers in the early 1930's working on various formal definitions to capture the intuitive notion of a computable function, and that Turing was just one of them and shares the credit with them. This is incorrect. It was Turing and Turing alone not Church, not Kleene, not Post, and not even Gödel himself. It was Turing who:You can see Soare's historical view here.
- gave the first convincing model for an intuitively computable function;
- gave a precise demonstration that this formal model captured the intuitive notion; and
- defined the universal Turing machine, which is of immense importance.
Yesterday Soare gave a preview of a talk at the Chicago logic seminar. He focused mostly on the work of the 30's and how Kleene later established the terminology Recursion Theory and Church's Thesis. Soare argues that Turing deserves most of the credit for the Thesis because Turing gave solid arguments for the thesis and Gödel always gave Turing credit. Church may have first formulated the thesis but Turing's work made it credible.
We computer scientists have been using "Church-Turing Thesis" for years and with Soare's historical background, Church-Turing still seems like the way to go.