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Polish Mathematicians Finding Patterns in Enigma Messages

by Chris Christensen

Year of Award: 2008

Award: Carl B. Allendoerfer

Publication Information: Mathematics Magazine, vol. 80, (2007), pp. 247-273

Summary: The history of three Polish mathematicians who were instrumental in breaking Enigma, and the mathematics behind their work.

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About the Author: Chris Christensen is a professor of mathematics at Northern Kentucky University.  His mathematical genealogy is a long line of algebraic geometers; he is a student of Professor S. S. Abhyankar.  He became hooked on cryptology when, after running out of (good) Tom Clancy books, he read the novel Enigma by Robert Harris – a story set among the World War II British codebreakers at Bletchley Park.

Subject classification(s): Algebra and Number Theory | Number Theory | Cryptography | Index | Mathematics History | Biographies of Mathematicians
Publication Date: 
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

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