GCHQ and BLETCHLEY PARK will be joining forces and inviting the public to take part in a unique recreation of the wartime codebreaking process at this year’s Times Cheltenham Science Festival from 12-17 June. These activities will form part of the celebrations marking the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing.
For the first time, members of the public will be invited to encrypt a message on one of GCHQ’s Enigma machines at the Town Hall, before it is sent to Bletchley Park, home of the wartime codebreakers. Once at Bletchley Park, the message will be decrypted with the help of the Turing Bombe Rebuild and the decrypt ‘tweeted’ back. The whole event will be live and interactive using a two-way Skype videoconference, ensuring that members of the public in both Cheltenham and Bletchley Park can see every part of the encryption/decryption process.
Further interest will be added during the weekend 16-17 June, when the Cheltenham Amateur Radio Association will transmit the encrypted messages to Bletchley Park in Morse code. The messages will be received by their counterparts in the Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society who will hand them on to the decryption process before ‘tweeting’ the decoded message back to Cheltenham.
A spokesman for GCHQ said: “We are delighted to work with Bletchley Park and our amateur radio colleagues to highlight Bletchley Park’s remarkable wartime work and in particular, the role of Alan Turing in developing the Bombe decryption machine. It was the mechanisation of the decryption process that helped turn the tide of war and it is fitting that during this centenary year we should pay tribute to his vital and inspirational work.”
Iain Standen, CEO for The Bletchley Park Trust said: “This exciting link-up with GCHQ shows yet again the strong bonds that exist between our two organisations and offers the public an exciting opportunity to get involved with the codebreaking process.”
Notes for the Editor
GCHQ is one of the three UK Intelligence Agencies and works to protect the UK’S national security interests. It has been engaging with the local community and supporting voluntary work for many years.
To find out more about GCHQ, please visit: www.gchq.gov.ukAbout Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park is the historic site of the secret British codebreaking activities during the Second World War and the birthplace of the modern computer.
For more information on Bletchley Park and to find out what’s happening there please visit: http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk
About The Times Cheltenham Science Festival
The Cheltenham Science Festival 2012 will run from 12-17 June. The Discover Zone is a main feature of the Festival and is billed as “Interactive Science for all ages” and is a free interactive exhibition space in Cheltenham Town Hall.
For more information on the Cheltenham Science Festival please visit: http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/science About Alan Turing
Alan Mathison Turing was a cryptanalyst and computer scientist who is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. During the Second World War he worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park and designed techniques for breaking German ciphers including those encrypted using the Enigma machine. This year marks the centenary of Alan Turing’s birth which will be celebrated by numerous events across the country forming part of what is known as Turing 2012.
For more information on Turing 2012 please visit: http://www.turingcentenary.eu
For more information please contact the GCHQ Press Office
For any Bletchley Park press or media enquiries, please contact:
Kelsey Griffin, Director of Museum Operations and Media relations
Tel: 01908 272655 or Email: email@example.com
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