Although it may sometimes seem like it, computer science is nothing new. Technology has developed significantly over time, but the concept of using machines and complex codes is something that has been done throughout history. This is why we feel it’s crucial to make sure that our computer science students get a taste of where some of the practices that they use today have originated from.
The Bletchley Park trip is the perfect opportunity for students to experience mathematical encryption and encoding techniques from the past. They get the chance to take part in code breaking challenges, workshops and are given the opportunity to see a genuine Enigma.
The Enigma machine played a very important role in WW2. Developed by German electrical engineer Arthur Scherbius, it was used to encrypt messages sent by German forces. With the help of Alan Turing, who worked at the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, intercepted messages could be decoded, leading to an early end to the war and millions of lives being saved. In November 2014, some of our students went along to the cinema to see ‘Imitation Game’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, which was based on Turing’s life.
During their visit to Bletchley Park, students are given a tour of the entire site, where they can see the huts that were set up during WW2, and find out more about how encrypted messages were brought in at night and cracked.
Here are a few pictures from our 2016 trips:
One of our students sitting at the former desk of Alan Turing
Head of Faculty Finance and Computer Science, Ruchi Agarwal with an Enigma machine!
Students working hard on a code cracking challenge
For more information on Bletchley Park, head to: www.bletchleypark.org.uk