29 June 2012

England (Day 6): Code-breaking!

Today has been intellectually stimulating. Martin picked me up this morning at 8:30 and  we traveled to Bletchley Park, the National Code Center. In WWII, this was where Britain's code-breaking teams were based, working on the decryption of German and Japanese messages. Alan Turing, the famous mathematician and "father of the computer", worked here during the War, contributing majorly to the effort to break the German Enigma code. Here is where the Bombe machine, an early one-task computer was built, followed by the Collosus, the father of the modern computers, using 2500 valves to help crack the codes at a much faster rate than the Bombe could. After the War, Churchill ordered the destruction of these machines as we moved into the Cold War, though it is said that at least one or two of each were preserved under tight security. Teams using declassified materials have built working replicas of both machines, which are on display here at Bletchley.

This is really an amazing trip. I've been to so many new places, done so many new things, and learned so much about history in just 5 days. Tomorrow is a travel day from Cambridge to Rugby, the to the B&B at Long Buckby. Friday I'll be headed out to go narrowboating! I can't wait to get to the river so I can just put my aching feet up and relax (and drink a few ales)!

My Internet access is for sh!t. I'll upload pictures as soon as I can.

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