The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
With their inextricable links to history, mystery and war, codes and ciphers offer a rich seam of material for any author. The relative dearth of non-technical books on the subject may be a reflection of its pretty technical foundations, which compel hard decisions about what to include and... show more
With their inextricable links to history, mystery and war, codes and ciphers offer a rich seam of material for any author. The relative dearth of non-technical books on the subject may be a reflection of its pretty technical foundations, which compel hard decisions about what to include and what to gloss over. Few are better qualified to take on the challenge than Simon Singh, the particle physicist turned science writer whose book Fermat's Last Theorem, recounting the dauntingly complex story behind the proof of this mathematical conjecture, deservedly became a No. 1 bestseller.The Code Book contains many fascinating accounts of code-breaking in action, from its use in unmasking the Man in the Iron Mask and the defeat of the Nazis to the breaking of a modern cipher system by a world-wide army of amateurs in 1994. It is especially good on the most recent developments, such as quantum cryptology and the thorny civil liberties issues raised by the advent of very secure cipher systems over the Internet. But Singh's mathematical prowess sometimes gets the better of his journalistic instincts, leading to technical descriptions that unnecessarily disrupt the narrative flow. So buy it-- and have a shot at the 10,000 pound mystery cipher--but be prepared to skip. --Robert Matthews
Publish date: 1999
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Pages no: 415
Edition language: English
, Computer Science
, Popular Science
, Spy Thriller
Published 1999. “[ ] One-way functions are sometimes called Humpty Dumpty functions. Modular arithmetic, sometimes called clock arithmetic in schools, is an area of mathematics that is rich in one-way functions. In modular arithmetic, mathematicians consider a finite group of numbers arranged i...
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Absolutely fascinating. I recommend this to any of my friends on the geeky end as it has lots of juicy technical bits. That said, don't be scared off by that as one could skim those bits and still really enjoy the historical aspects.
I was fascinated with codes and ciphers when I was a kid. I even had a "junior spy code kit" with a bunch of cool stuff and I could send little notes to friends with secret messages like "Mr. Nutzenjammer is a dork" and "Cindy eats her boogers" and we would all congratulate ourselves with our clever...
This is not something I would have picked up had my boyfriend not loved it. It's a very readable trip through the history of code making and code breaking from the world of ancient Greece, up to speculation about what the next breakthroughs might be.He really enjoyed attempting to break the codes at...
Interesting in parts but I didn't love it. I was hoping it would mostly be historical anecdotes about important codes and how they were (or weren't) broken and how that affected history. There was SOME of that, and it was always really good. But then he often gets really deep into the weeds about ho...