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The University of Southampton

Professor Dame Wendy Hall features in Royal Society’s People of Science

Published: 5 December 2019
Professor Dame Wendy Hall
Professor Dame Wendy Hall features in the Royal Society film series 'People in Science'.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall features in a new series of short films featuring Fellows of the Royal Society discussing their favourite scientists in history.

During her episode of the ‘People of Science’ series, Dame Wendy , Regius Professor of Computing Science at the University of Southampton and Executive Director of the Southampton-based Web Science Institute , speaks to Professor Brian Cox about her admiration for Alan Turing. His pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing are considered to be the key disciplines comprising the emerging field of data science.

Turing famously worked at Bletchley as part of the Government Code and Cypher School playing a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages during World War II that enabled the Allies to win many crucial engagements. During the film, Dame Wendy visits Bletchley Park to see the bombe, an electromechanical machine used by Turing and his colleagues to find settings for the Enigma machine.

“Turing’s ability to see what was going to be possible with computers, and how they were going to change the world, even before the first one was built, including the concept that computers might think and in time outperform human beings,” said Dame Wendy. “And of course, his intellectual ability to develop the theory of computation is still the theoretical underpinning of so much of what we do today.

“He fought all his life to achieve what he wanted to achieve despite being ‘different’,” she continued. “He epitomises the battle for equality, diversity and inclusion that we are still struggling with today.”

Dame Wendy was recently named as the only academic to make the 10th annual UKtech50 , a list of the most influential people in the UK tech sector published by Computer Weekly. She also appears in a list of the 30 ‘AI gurus’ in Europe to follow on Twitter by Sifted, a new website for the continent’s innovators and entrepreneurs.

Dame Wendy’s film is part of series two of People of Science which also includes interviews with Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, and Royal Society Fellows Professor Joanna Haigh, Professor Martin Rees, Dame Ottoline Leyser and Professor Richard Fortey.

Click here to view the film via the BBC iplayer.

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