The Alan Turing Programme at King’s
We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.
- Alan Turing
King’s is celebrated for innovation, creative thinking, challenging the status quo and looking at things differently, and few of the College’s alumni exemplify this more than Alan Turing (KC 1931).
From the papers he published at Cambridge which are now recognised as the foundation of computer science, through his vital code-breaking work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War which is credited with the shortening of the the war in Europe by two years and the saving of countless lives, to his exploration of the idea of artificial intelligence, the importance of Alan Turing and his impact on our world are hard to overestimate.
As well as a pioneering thinker, brilliant mathematician and cryptographer, Alan Turing was also a gay man who was appallingly treated as a result of his sexuality. In 1954,at the age of 41, Turing took his own life after being prosecuted for homosexual acts, still considered criminal in the UK at the time. Sixty years later, in 2013, he was posthumously pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II.
King’s is enormously proud of its association with Alan Turing, and the Alan Turing Programme at King’s honours both the man and his work.
Alan Turing read mathematics at King’s from 1931 to 1934, gaining his degree with first-class honours. Shortly after graduating, on the strength of his mathematical dissertation, he was elected a Fellow of the College.
In 1936 while at Cambridge Turing published his seminal paper 'On Computable Numbers', which introduced the key concepts of algorithms and computing machines, and gave birth to the idea of a computer.
Following two years at Princeton, Turing returned to King’s in 1938. With the outbreak of war in 1939 he went to Bletchley Park, and only spent one more year, 1947-1948, officially living in Cambridge, but he held his Fellowship until 1952, and went on spending his summers in Cambridge. At King’s, in the College’s tolerant, open and intellectual environment, he was able to life a fulfilled life both as a homosexual man and an abstract thinker. Although from 1948 he lived in Manchester, where he joined Max Newman's Computing Machine Laboratory and introduced the ‘Turing Test’ for machine intelligence, King’s remained in many ways Alan Turing’s professional, social and emotional base up to his death in 1954.
The Alan Turing Programme at King's builds on Turing’s legacy to create new ideas and technologies that will drive future change, much as Alan Turing did.
It brings together talented research fellows and brilliant graduate students from across data and computer science to biotechnology, maths and mathematical biology, as well as the politics of sexuality and gender. It looks ahead to the next big challenges that may come humanity’s way; and supports the next generation of Turings in the innovations and discoveries that could be transformational not only now, but half a century from now.
Alan Turing Studentships
The Alan Turing Studentships bring the most promising scholars from around the world to King’s, helping them to delve deeper into their subjects, supported by leaders in the field.
The Alan Turing MPhil Studentship
A gift of £27,000 will support one Alan Turing MPhil student, at the Home rate.
A gift of £47,500 will support one Alan Turing MPhil student, at the overseas student rate.
An endowment of £975,000 will support a perpetual sequence of Alan Turing MPhil Scholars.
The Alan Turing PhD Studentship
A gift of £79,500 will support one Alan Turing PhD Scholar for three and a half years, at the Home rate.
A gift of £150,000 will support one Alan Turing PhD Scholar for three and a half years, at the overseas student rate.
An endowment of £1,250,000 will support a perpetual sequence of Alan Turing PhD Scholars.
Our aim is to create a strong and diverse community of experts at all levels, in the subjects related to Turing's research. As part of the Alan Turing Programme, we wish to establish a series of new posts at King’s.
Turing Research Fellowships
One 4-year term Research Fellowship costs around £200,000 including accommodation.
Turing College Teaching Officer
The cost of each CTO to the College stands at £50,000 per year including accommodation. As a result, one CTO can be endowed in perpetuity for £1,500,000.
The Turing Fellow
A full Turing Fellowship can be endowed for £2 million. The Fellowship would be a permanent post and could attract a leading mind in the fields of computer science, biotechnology, mathematics and mathematical biology, or the history and politics of gender and sexuality.
Enabling the Transfer of Ideas
With the Alan Turing Programme at King’s we want to create a vibrant hub of activity around Turing’s life and work.
The Alan Turing Annual Lecture, launched in 2017, attracts a leading authority on the life of Alan Turing or one of the key disciplines on which his work has had greatest impact. This event has become a highlight in the intellectual and social calendar of the College, raising the profile of Turing and his legacy at King’s, and drawing together the academic community.
A new Alan Turing Visiting Professorship would enable distinguished experts from overseas to spend between two weeks and one academic term in residence at King’s, during which they will deliver lectures and seminars or run a symposium. The opportunity to be fully involved in College life during this time will enable Visiting Professors to interact with Turing Scholars and Faculty staff, contributing to and supporting the vibrant community we have created.
If you would like further information about making a gift towards the Alan Turing Programme at King’s please contact the Director of Development Lorraine Headen, or Senior Development Officer, Alice Bailey.