In February, thirty-eight Computing students from Loreto took part in an educational trip to Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes.
The site is of extreme historical significance because it is where British cryptologists worked to decipher the Enigma code, which was a crucial help towards victory in the Second World War. However, the site is also considered the birthplace of modern computing as it is where Alan Turing built his Bombe machine which he used to crack the code.
The day started off with a tour around Bletchley Park on an icy-cold morning. Students were able to explore the huts that were built on the Bletchley grounds, where British mathematicians worked together to crack the code. The students were also given the opportunity to ask questions about the site and the importance of Bletchley Park. The tour involved seeing Turing’s office and working on interactive puzzles throughout the site, with a short stop at the Memorial which celebrates the work of the Polish mathematicians.
Later in the day, students took part in activities which related to encrypting and decrypting messages to find the name of the British double-agent who worked for Russia while trying to crack Enigma. The activities involved understanding how the Enigma machine worked and why it was considered ‘unbreakable’. The Enigma machine used in the demonstration was the one used by Benedict Cumberbatch in the biopic ‘The Imitation Game’.
Safe to say, if the UK ever needed top-class cryptologists, Loreto students would rise to the challenge!
(The photo shows some of the group at the Memorial to the Polish mathematicians.)