Modern Marvels

Codes

Season 8, Ep 15, Aired 5/21/01
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  • Episode Description
  • Whenever a culture reaches a level of sophistication in literacy, science, and language, codes spring up spontaneously. As the social life of a community increases in complexity, the demands for private communication between two or more people inevitably lead to cryptology--a system of secret symbolic messages. Explore the rich history of communicating with secret symbols--from Egyptian hieroglyphics to Caesar's encrypted directives, from WWI and WWII codebreakers to cyberspace.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Adrian Maher

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (1)

    • Narrator: Caesar altered his alphabet, the Nazi’s had Enigma, computers and digital encryption, the attempts to make and break these secret methods of scrambled communication have changed have changed the course of history. Now: Codes, on Modern Marvels.

    Notes (1)

    • Commentators: Dr. David Hatch Director, Center for Cyptologic History Dr. David Kahn Author, The Codebreakers Stephen Budiansky Author, Battle of Wits Arthur Levenson Bletchley Park Codebreaker Samuel Billison President, Navajo Codetalkers Association Phil Zimmermann Inventor, Pretty Good Privacy Prof. Leonard Adleman Co-Inventor, RSA Crypto Cipher Dr. Dorothy E. Denning Professor, Georgetown University

    Trivia (2)

    • Secret flag signals were used extensively on the battlefield in the American Civil War.

    • American codebreaker William Friedman invented several cryptologic machines, two of which were so secret patents were never filed.

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