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Past Meeting

Frank Carter - Breaking Enigma: Alan Turing and the Bombe

For our last meeting of 2011, we were delighted to welcome Frank Carter who shared his extensive knowledge of the Enigma code-breaking work done at Bletchley Park.

This was a fascinating talk on this popular topic.

Talk outline

A 3-rotor Enigma machine
A 3-rotor Enigma machine
(i) The Enigma machine and its operational use: This ingenious machine generates cipher-text from plain-text typed on its keyboard. By means of the convoluted wiring of its circuits, each key pressed lights a lamp, to indicate the corresponding cipher-text letter.

(ii)The security of the Machine: An account of the severe difficulties that had to overcome in order to break the encryption of Enigma.

Rebuilt Bombe
The working rebuilt bombe
at Bletchley Park museum
(iii) The Turing Bombe. The Bombe was designed to carry out a systematic search to determine the settings of an Enigma encrypter. It was essentially an electro-mechanical machine operating under the control of a complex system of electric relays.

(iv) Signals intelligence obtained from some broken messages. Hear some of the key secrets which were gained without the enemy's knowledge.

Frank Carter

Rebuilt Bombe Since retirement as a College Lecturer in Mathematics, Frank has been involved with the Bletchley Park Trust for many years, researching on the wartime work of the code-breakers, writing material for publication by the Trust, giving lectures, and also acting as a tour guide.

He has written various published articles related to the wartime work of the cryptographers and is the author of six of the Bletchley Park Reports in a series published by the Trust.

See the Bletchley Park Trust website at www.bletchleypark.org.uk.

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