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Simon Singh

The Code Book: The Secret History of Codes and Code-breaking

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The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
From the best-selling author of Fermat’s Last Theorem, The Code Book is a history of man’s urge to uncover the secrets of codes, from Egyptian puzzles to modern day computer encryptions.
As in Fermat’s Last Theorem, Simon Singh brings life to an anstonishing story of puzzles, codes, languages and riddles that reveals man’s continual pursuit to disguise and uncover, and to work out the secret languages of others.
Codes have influenced events throughout history, both in the stories of those who make them and those who break them. The betrayal of Mary Queen of Scots and the cracking of the enigma code that helped the Allies in World War II are major episodes in a continuing history of cryptography. In addition to stories of intrigue and warfare, Simon Singh also investigates other codes, the unravelling of genes and the rediscovery of ancient languages and most tantalisingly, the Beale ciphers, an unbroken code that could hold the key to a $20 million treasure.
Note that it has not been possible to include the same picture content that appeared in the original print version.
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688 printed pages
Publication year
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  • Evelinashared an impression3 years ago
    👍Worth reading


  • Valentyna Brusenkohas quoted7 years ago
    Just as Whit Diffie predicted in the early 1970s, we are now entering the Information Age, a post-industrial era in which information is the most valuable commodity.
  • Valentyna Brusenkohas quoted7 years ago
    The uncertainty principle is another weird consequence of quantum theory.
    Wiesner’s quantum mo
  • Valentyna Brusenkohas quoted7 years ago
    It is this ability to block certain photons that explains how Polaroid sunglasses work. In fact, you can demonstrate the effect of Polaroid filters by experimenting with a pair of Polaroid sunglasses. First remove one lens, and close that eye so that you are looking with just the other eye through the remaining lens. Not surprisingly, the world looks quite dark because the lens blocks many of the photons that would otherwise have reached your eye. At this point, all the photons reaching your eye have the same polarisation. Next, hold the other lens in front of the lens you are looking through, and rotate it slowly. At one point in the rotation, the loose lens will have no effect on the amount of light reaching your eye because its orientation is the same as the fixed lens – all the photons that get through the loose lens also pass through the fixed lens. If you now rotate the loose lens through 90°, it will turn completely black. In this configuration, the polarisation of the loose lens is perpendicular to the polarisation of the fixed lens, so that any photons that get through the loose lens are blocked by the fixed lens. If you now rotate the loose lens by 45°, then you reach an intermediate stage in which the lenses are partially misaligned, and half of the photons that pass through the loose lens manage to get through the fixed lens.

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