Driftwood Public Library Follow-Up

Driftwood Public Library is great! I had a wonderful time in Lincoln City speaking about secret societies and cryptography. Links to my slides are below.

Secret Societies in Fiction How Computers Changed Cryptography

For a bibliography for “How Computers Changed Cryptography”, check my notes for my OMSI Science on Screen talk.

Also, I would like to thank the ‘D’ Sands Condominium Motel for sponsoring the talks and providing me with a really lovely room.

My view was great.

This is the view from my motel room balcony at the ‘D’ Sands.

OMSI Science on Screen Wrapup

Zimmerman Telegram

My talk at OMSI last night, “Computers and the Dawn of Modern Cryptography,” went really well. It was a great crowd and there was a good Q&A session afterwards. I’m going to keep this post really brief. First, there will be slides for my talk. Following that will be a brief bibliography if you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating topic.

Click here to download my slides.


  • Singh, Simon. The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography. Reprint edition. New York: Anchor, 2000. This book is the best resource I’ve found for a logical breakdown of how cryptography and cryptanalysis worked for WWII cryptology.
  • Boone, J. V. A Brief History of Cryptology. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press, 2005.
  • Copeland, B. Jack, ed. Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park’s Codebreaking Computers. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. I can’t wait to explore this book more! It is a massive collection of articles and papers from a wide array of authors.
  • Drea, Edward J. MacArthur’s ULTRA: Codebreaking and the War against Japan, 1942-1945. Modern War Studies. Lawrence, Kan: University Press of Kansas, 1992.
  • Wilcox, Jennifer, United States, National Security Agency/Central Security Service, and Center for Cryptologic History. Sharing the Burden: Women in Cryptology during World War II. Fort George G. Meade, Md.: Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, 1998.

In addition, almost all of the photos and information on individual cipher machines can be found at Crypto Museum. This is a rich and bountiful resource for those interested in the internal workings of modern encryption.

OMSI Science on Screen: The Imitation Game

On March 28th, I will be giving a lecture called “Computers and the Dawn of Modern Cryptography” at OMSI as part of their Science on Screen program. I’ll be speaking and answering questions just before a screening of The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. I am really excited about this opportunity! Please come down to OMSI for an informative lecture and an excellent film.

Buy Tickets Here

Security Link Rodeo: Silk Road, the Patriot Act, Alan Turing, and Your Passwords

The man behind the Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, received a life sentence after being convicted of money laundering and drug trafficking. It’s estimated that he made around $18 million on the website, which ran as a hidden service in the Tor network. Some of the operators for the Silk Road argue that it was a haven for libertarian philosophy, but does that really excuse the amount of damage they enabled? The Economist notes that since the Silk Road fell, illegal drug sales on the Internet have doubled.
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A Look Back on the History of Cryptography

In May, I taught a class on the History of Cryptography at Portland Underground Grad School. I’m extremely grateful to PUGS for asking me to teach, because I’d never done it before. It was a great experience. My students were intelligent and the discussion was good. I learned quite a few things in the process.
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The History of Cryptography at PUGS

Portland Underground Graduate School (PUGS) has invited me to teach a class on the history of cryptography starting May 4th. The class will be four sessions and is very affordable: only $40!

We will cover the basics of cryptography, where it came from, and why it’s important. In addition, I will teach you how to use a number of manual cryptographic techniques. I’m really excited about this class, and I can’t wait to share my knowledge!

To learn more and to sign up, please visit the PUGS class listing here.