Edinburgh International Science Festival welcomes GCHQ
News article - 12 April 2016
Over the weekend 1-2 April, GCHQ took part in the Edinburgh International Science Festival, a prestigious event that ran from 26 March to 10 April across a number of venues in Edinburgh. The GCHQ stand, mostly manned by former students and apprentices, was one of the displays at the National Museum of Scotland, an imposing building in the centre of the city.
The GCHQ team took along a selection of interactive STEM games and gadgets, but the real draw was the Enigma machine on which visitors were able to encrypt messages and sent them on an audio link using a digital version of Hellschreiber (a teleprinter used by Germany in the Second World War) to Cheltenham, where two volunteers were on hand to decrypt the messages using the Cryptoy, an educational code-breaking app designed by GCHQ students to replicate a genuine Enigma machine (and other cipher systems). The decrypted messages were sent back the same way, as well as tweeted.
The stand created a great deal of interest and excitement over the two days, including on the Friday night during the Big Bang Bash, an adults-only ticketed evening event.