Alan Turing – The Incredible Cambridge Fellow

Early Life

Born on the 23rd of June, London 1912, Alan Mathison Turing became an important and influential English mathematician, logician, computer scientist, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist. Turing is world renowned for his discoveries and abstract way of thinking, and was the mastermind behind cracking the German enigma code in the Second World War. Alan Turing’s life was marked by many discoveries and publications, but also challenges and struggles within society.

When Alan was only one year of age, he was looked after by friends of his family and was sent to school in England. Turing did not seem to obtain any benefit from being at school, as he was classed as “average to good” in most subjects, with most of his focus fixated on his own ideas.
Alan Turing struggled to fit into what was expected from him when attending education in a public school. Turing was criticised for his handwriting and struggled in English classes, however excelled in mathematics where Turing was more interested in following his judgement to produce solutions to mathematical problems than following what was taught by his teachers. Turing’s mother was determined that he attended a public school, regardless of the fact that most original thinkers in history found conventional schooling institutions restraining. It was clear since school, that Alan Turing was a different type of student from the other students.

Academic Career & Discoveries

Alan Turing had read the papers on relativity and quantum mechanics written by world-renowned geniuses like Einstein and Eddington, which one could say were his inspirations. Despite Turing’s difficult years at school, he started to study mathematics at King’s College, Cambridge in 1931. Studying at Cambridge University during this time made it much easier for unconventional people like Turing to explore their extraordinary ideas. In 1933, Alan Turing began his interest and research in mathematical logic and graduated from Cambridge University in 1934.

Cambridge Fellow & Publications

In 1935, Turing was elected as a Cambridge Fellow of King’s College, for a dissertation on the fundamentals of probability theory – also known as the Central Limit Theorem. The Fellow of Cambridge, Alan Turing introduced an abstract machine called the “Turing Machine”, which proved that π was computable. In 1936, the most astonishing feature of the Turing Machine was that the Cambridge Fellow was describing a modern computer before technology had even reached the point where building was a realistic concept.

In 1939 Alan Turing published work on the systems of logic based on ordinals. The paper is filled with Turing’s distinguished ideas and views on the place of intuition in mathematical proof. During this time Turing published another two papers that focused rather more on conventional mathematical topics, specifically the methods of approximating Lie groups by finite groups.

Government work

While at Princeton University, Alan Turing started to build an analogue mechanical device which today we could say was a computer. Turing wanted to use this to investigate what is considered the biggest unsolved problem in mathematics known as the Reimann hypothesis. However, Turing’s work soon changed when the Second World War broke out in 1939. Turing was working full-time for the Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS) at Bletchley Park in breaking the German Enigma codes. This code system enabled the Germans to encrypt and decrypt messages and communications from one another. Working together with another mathematician W G Welchman, Turing developed the Bombe, a machine that changed history. The Bombe at Bletchley was able to decode all the secret German navy signals encrypted by the Enigma machine. After the Second World War ended, an O.B.E. was awarded to Alan Turing for his vital contribution to the war effort. This pivotal moment changed world history.

Alan Turing Enigma Machine - Cambridge
In 1947, The Cambridge Fellow returned to Cambridge where his interests moved away from computer science and mathematics, and moved to neurology and physiology. During this time Turing still wrote code for programming computers and published the paper – Computing Machinery and Intelligence in Mind. This was another remarkable piece of work Alan Turing did in the 1950s, as he questioned discussions that would happen in the far future when computers developed. Such questions and problems he discussed and studied lie at the heart of artificial intelligence today. Alan Turing proposed the Turing test which is still used today in attempting to answer whether a computer can be intelligent. Astonishingly, one man in the 1950s was studying problems regarding questions that have only arisen in this decade.
Alan Turing apartment - the fellows house

Statue of Alan Turing at Kings

A sculpture dedicated to Alan Turing by Sir Antony Gormley, has been officially unveiled at King’s College in Cambridge. Sir Antony Gormley, is most well known for his work – The Angel of the North. The name of the artwork dedicated to The Cambridge Fellow is titled ‘True’, and stands in the heart of King’s College where Turing was elected as a Cambridge Fellow. The statue is 3.7 meters tall and is located between the Gibbs building and Webb’s court. Gormley stated that the inspiration for the medium of his new work was that Alan Turing unlocked the door between the industrial and the information ages, hence why the statue is made from 140 mm thick rolled Corten steel. The sculpture is accessible to the public through pre-arranged bookings and on specific occasions such as Open Cambridge days. You can pre-book your visit to see the Alan Turing sculpture here.

Honouring the famous Alan Turing at The Fellows House

Alan Turing is a highly celebrated Cambridge University Fellow, through his dedication to his work in probability theory, problem-solving in mathematics, and computer science. Alan Turing’s accomplishments and contributions were revolutionary and influenced world history with the cracking of the Enigma code. The Fellows House hotel in Cambridge pays homage to this incredible Cambridge Fellow by devoting hotel guests to stay in an apartment named The Turing Superior Studio.

Inspired by the famous mathematician, the superior studio lives up to its name, offering a spacious, luxurious and contemporary feel. The accommodation provides a homely feel, being fully equipped with a kitchen, in-room tech, bathroom with stocked-up products and living and sleeping spaces carefully designed to feel like separate rooms which you can flow through. The Turing Superior Studio provides staying guests with everything they may need during their short or long stay in Cambridge. The studio celebrates the life and achievements of Alan Turing, with key features of artwork that represents the Cambridge Fellow.

Alan Turing apartment Cambridge - The Fellows House

If you are visiting or staying for a long business working trip in Cambridge, feel free to immerse yourself into the history of the Fellows of Cambridge through enchanting artwork, and stay in one of the luxury spacious apartments dedicated to many of the distinguished research Fellows of Cambridge, like Isaac Newton and David Attenborough, as well as Alan Turing.


If you would like to read more about the life of Alan Turing, the famous Cambridge Fellow, visit these references/resources:

– Turing, A. M. (2004). The essential turing. Oxford University Press.
– Hofstadter, D. (2013). Alan Turing: Life and legacy of a great thinker. Springer Science & Business Media.


Afternoon Tea

Offered from Thursdays through to Sundays from 12:00 to 16:30 at The Folio Bar & Kitchen.