Cryptography pp. 50ff in 189

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Cryptography pp. 50ff in 189

Postby johnhudson » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:01 pm

Just to congratulate Jonni Bidwell on this article. It's fiendishly difficult to cover the history in such a short article but I think he has done a remarkable job. For a much longer history - which still doesn't manage to cover some of the byways which Jonni picks up - I recommend Simon Singh's 1999 book The Code Book.
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Re: Cryptography pp. 50ff in 189

Postby nelz » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:09 am

+1 for The Code Book.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
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Re: Cryptography pp. 50ff in 189

Postby Jonni » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:35 pm

Thanks John, glad you enjoyed it. I had fun writing it, hunting out the lesser told stories. I always feel that a lot of people working in this area (I used to be one of them) dismiss the history as primitive, but it's important to see how all these ideas developed, and that in many ways (besides using 1s and 0s instead of lengthier alphabets) we're still playing the same games. Besides the science, the histories are fascinating if only for some of the characters involved: The Rossignols, John Dee, Edgar Allen Poe, F. Bacon, Painvin, Turing...

I also like G. H. Hardy's claim in "A mathematician's apology", that Number Theory, "whose very remoteness from ordinary human activities should keep it gentle and clean" is now at the heart of the our first-world lives.

The Code Book is grand, likewise David Kahn's "The Codebreakers". But I must also mention some fictions: Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum" and Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon" and the lengthier Baroque Cycle trilogy.
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