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28 October 2004

The Earl of Wessex unveils statue of Alan Turing

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Patrick Dowling was delighted to welcome His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex to the University of Surrey to unveil a magnificent bronze statue of pre-eminent Guildford scientist Alan Turing today.

While on campus, the Earl also visited the Performing Arts Technology Studios, student radio station GU2 and Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd. He then lunched at Lakeside Restaurant in the newly opened School of Management building.

The statue, which marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the scientist, was created by John W. Mills and took over 18 months to complete. It depicts Alan Turing striding across the University piazza in front of the Austin Pearce Building, which houses the University’s computer labs.

Turing, who lived in Guildford in his earlier life, led the team that succeeded in breaking high-level secret German codes in World War II, using the first practical programmed computer, called Colossus. In 1937 he suggested a theoretical machine, since called a Turing Machine, that became the basis of modern computing. In 1950 he suggested what has become known as a "Turing's test," still the criterion for recognising intelligence in a machine.

Professor Dowling comments, 'Today we were pleased and honoured to welcome our nearest royal neighbour, the Earl of Wessex to the university for the first time. As well as unveiling this magnificent statue of a colossus of a man, the Earl was able to see first-class dance and leading edge technology. We hope that this will be the first of many visits.'

Media enquiries: Stuart Miller, Press Office at the University of Surrey, Tel: 01483 689314 or E-mail: s.e.miller@surrey.ac.uk