Lecture on the Enigma Machine at Fairfield University March 19


Lars W. Christensen, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at Texas Tech University, will speak at Fairfield University on Thursday, March 19, on the Enigma Machine from World War II and the extraordinary role elementary mathematics played in cracking its code. The talk takes place at 5 p.m. in the Multimedia Room of the DiMenna-Nyselius Library and is free and open to the public.

While the role of Physics in the allied war effort became evident in August 1945, with the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, few knew until the 1970s the enormous contribution made by Mathematics in cracking the German Enigma cipher machine.

The talk, geared for a general audience, will give a brief survey of this momentous effort. It is both an entertaining story of elementary mathematics with nontrivial implications for world history as well as a story of large personalities, devotion to service and early computers.

A graduate of the University of Copenhagen where he also earned his Ph.D., Dr. Christensen worked with telecommunications and crypto software development before going to the University of Nebraska as a visiting professor. In 2007 he joined Texas Tech University where his research focus is algebra.

The program is being presented by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and the Science Institute of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University. For more information, please contact Dr. Janet Striuli, assistant professor of mathematics, jstriuli@mail.fairfield.edu, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2923.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 7, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 239