Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland
The University of Canterbury Research Medal has been awarded to Professor Jack Copeland (Humanities)
The Research Medal is the University’s highest recognition of an outstanding contribution to research and the Teaching Medal recognises an outstanding and sustained contribution to teaching.
Copeland’s work is considered remarkable not only for its success but also its breadth. He works in philosophy, mathematical logic, cognitive science, the foundations of artificial intelligence, the history of engineering and technology, and the history of cryptography.
His most recent book, Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park’s Codebreaking Computers, published by Oxford University Press in 2006 (with a new edition due in 2010) is considered one of the most important publications on the history of computing machines. The leading scientific journal Nature described it as “essential reading for historians of 20th century technology”.
A referee for his nomination for the Research Medal said Copeland was a “star of the first magnitude in the tough-minded areas of logic, and the philosophy and history
of science, and is the world expert in the philosophy of computing”. “His research has been of the highest international standing over the last 20 years and, quite incontestably, he has brought enormous prestige to the University of Canterbury.”
Another described him as the outstanding international authority on Alan Turing’s work on computation and said his body of work consisted of more than research contributions.
“In some cases he has played a leading role in defining the research fields themselves,” the referee said.
Copeland received his DPhil in Philosophy from the University of Oxford in 1979 for research on modal and nonclassical logics.