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German Mathematicians and Cryptology during WWII

Presented by: 
Sandy Zabell Northwestern University
Date: 
Thursday 3rd November 2016 - 11:00 to 12:00
Venue: 
INI Seminar Room 2
Abstract: 
The exploits of British mathematicians such as Alan Turing during the 1939-1945 cryptologic war are well-known.  But what about the other side?  Germany was after all (at least before the Nazis) the pre-eminent country for mathematics.

The answer turns out to be surprising:  a large number of German mathematicians who had distinguished careers after the war (including three future Presidents of the DMV, the German Mathematical Society) worked in signals intelligence during WWII;  and the Germans had many successes in this area.

Why then did they have such a meltdown on the defensive side of communications security, most of their methods of encryption being broken by the Allies?  Here too, surprisingly, there is a very simple answer.
University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons