We are very sad to report that Barry Cooper passed away after a brief illness on Monday, 26 October 2015. Barry was the driving force of Computability in Europe and without him, this Association would not exist. His enthusiasm for our community and his energy are an inspiration to us all and we shall dearly miss him.
Barry had recently retired from the office of President of our Association and had the chance to close the Association AGM in Bucharest in July 2015 with a speech reminiscing about the history of the Association. Barry was very fond of telling the ironic tale how this Association with more than a thousand members grew out of a rejected application for European funding. In order to discuss the negative feedback of the referees, we had decided to have a conference in Amsterdam which became the first CiE conference. Barry’s vision and guidance pushed us along the way, to further CiE conferences and finally to the formal formation of his Association. In the years 2007 and 2012, he personally co-chaired the programme committes of the CiE conferences in Siena and Cambridge; these two events were the two largest CiE conferences to date as a testament to Barry’s infectious enthusiasm and inclusive attitude. Barry also realized the potential of the Turing Centenary and made sure that the 100th birthday of Alan Turing was appropriately celebrated in the “Alan Turing Year”, not just in the United Kingdom, but all across the globe; at Turing’s alma mater in Cambridge, Barry was one of the organisers of a six-month Turing-related research programme at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences culminating on Turing’s 100th birthday, the 23rd of June 2012, on the lawn in front of King’s College. In the years after the Centenary, Barry renamed the “Alan Turing Year” into “Alan Turing Years”; as the media attention to Alan Turing grew, partly due to the Academy-award winning movie “The Imitation Game”, Barry became one of Alan Turing’s spokespeople on Twitter and in opinion pieces for the Guardian.
The people who have closely worked with Barry as part of the Association during these last ten years are still in shock about his passing; our thoughts are with Barry’s family and his six current doctoral students as well as with everyone who worked with this remarkable man; our lives will not be the same without him.
Cambridge & Oslo, 28 October 2015
Benedikt Löwe & Dag Normann
- Tribute by Richard Elwes (on Elwes’s Blog Simple City)
- Tribute by Dugald Macpherson, President of the British Logic Colloquium (on the De Morgan Forum, the Education Blog of the London Mathematical Society)
- Tribute by Lance Fortnow (on Fortnow’s Blog Computational Complexity)
- Tribute by Peter Lazenby (in the Morning Star, a British socialist newspaper)
- Barry Cooper obituary (by Richard Elwes, The Guardian, 17 November 2015)
- Barry Cooper (1942–2015): the Engine of Computability in Europe (by Benedikt Löwe in the journal Computability, vol. 5, no. 1, 2016, pp. 3–11)