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Published on:
Tuesday 30 April 2024

Turing-Gandy Bursaries

Wolfson is pleased to announce plans for new bursaries in Computer Science and Logic, thanks to the sale of volumes from the library of the computer scientist and cryptographer Alan Turing (1912-1954).

The books had been bequeathed to the College as part of the estate of Robin Gandy (1919-1995), a friend and student of Turing. Gandy joined Wolfson shortly after its foundation, becoming a Governing Body Fellow in 1970, and upon his death generously left his entire estate to the College. The inscribed volumes, which dated largely from Turing’s undergraduate years at King’s College, Cambridge, included his personal copy of G.H. Hardy’s Pure Mathematics (1908), which represented his first serious foray into mathematics and logic.

Gandy’s extraordinary bequest was left to Wolfson with the wish that his legacy be used to benefit the College and its students. Having consulted with those who knew him, the books were put up for sale through auctioneers Bonhams late last year. The books sold for nearly £60,000 and the proceeds will now be used to establish endowed bursaries in Computer Science and Logic, fields in which Turing played such a seminal role and to which Gandy made significant contributions

Daniel Isaacson, Emeritus Fellow of the College and long-time colleague and friend of Robin Gandy, has welcomed this development: “the establishment of this fund through the sale of books owned and used by Alan Turing which he bequeathed to Robin Gandy (his only PhD student), and which came to the College through Robin’s huge generosity in leaving his entire estate to Wolfson, wonderfully celebrates this lineage by supporting the work of graduate students working in the fields to which Turing and Gandy devoted themselves.”

The title pages of books, bearing Turing’s signature, were digitised in advance of the sale and deposited at the Turing Digital Archive at King’s College, Cambridge, to ensure they will remain accessible to scholars and to record Turing’s ownership of the volumes.

The College looks forward to offering the new bursaries in the next academic year.