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09 September 2019

Computer scientist by day, playwright by night: Luca Viganò

King's Cultural Community spotlight on Luca Viganò of the Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences

Luca Viganò, Vice Dean (External Relations) of the Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences Professor and Head of the Cybersecurity Group of the Department of Informatics
Professor Luca Viganò of the Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences

Luca Viganò is a Professor in the Department of Informatics, where he is Head of the Cybersecurity Group. As well as being the Vice Dean for External Relations of the Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences, Luca is also an established playwright.

Here, Luca tells us about his plays, his love of London and his passion for the work of the cultural community.


Tell us a little about yourself and your work
I am Italian and studied electronic engineering in my hometown Genoa. I moved to Germany for a PhD in Computer Science and ended up staying in Germany for about 10 years. I then spent three years at ETH Zurich and seven years in Verona, before joining King’s College London in October 2013.

I develop formal and automated approaches based on mathematical logic to model and analyse security protocols, web services, web applications, socio-technical systems and cyber-physical systems.

I love all art forms, but theatre, movies and literature are my passion.

A still from one of Luca's plays
A still from one of Luca's plays

How do you approach playwriting?   

I’ve had several plays professionally produced in Italy (by theatres comparable to the Old Vic) and I look forward to having my first production in London. For now, I only have short plays performed in pubs, but someday I will conquer the West End!

I usually write in Italian (and have translated some of my plays into English), but I am currently writing my first play in English. It is much more difficult than writing scientific articles.

I use plays, movies, novels and popular culture artworks in my modules on cryptography and security which students find interesting and refreshing.


Could you describe some of your plays?   

My plays have very diverse subjects. The most successful plays so far have been Galois, which is about Evariste Galois (one of the fathers of modern algebra) who died in a duel in 1832, and The Game of Kings, which is about José Raúl Capablanca and Alexander Alekhine (the third and the fourth world chess champions). Capablanca was undefeated for eight years before losing the title to Alekhine in 1927. They never had a return match as Alekhine refused to concede it.

A still from one of Luca's plays
A still from one of Luca's plays

How does being part of the university’s cultural community inspire you?

‘Culture’ can take many forms and it's great to have the opportunity to engage in open and constructive discussions with so many brilliant minds.

Joining King's in 2013 was a deliberate choice; I already had a professorship in one of the top universities in Italy, but I was keen to be part of the thriving, ambitious and dynamic community at King’s. Over the years, I have been able to appreciate first-hand the distinctive multi-disciplinary traits of King’s, including its vibrant cultural community of academics, professional services staff and students.

It's great to be working in one of the cultural and economic centres of the world (London ‘had me at hello!’), and I love that my office is in walking distance of so many attractions, museums and theatres. 


How can people find out more about your work?

I love talking about my academic work, movies and plays, so I am very happy for people to reach out to me by email ( or you can visit my website:

A still from one of Luca's plays
A still from one of Luca's plays