The Enigma Project travels everywhere in the UK, and beyond...
History of the Enigma Project
The Enigma Project was originally set up in 2002 by the science writer and broadcaster, Simon Singh (author of the best-selling 'Fermat's Last Theorem', 'The Code Book' and 'The Big Bang'). Simon Singh owns a genuine Enigma cipher machine that was built in 1936 and used by the Germans in France to send coded messages during WW2. It is one of only a few dozen known to be around today.
Simon Singh wanted to exploit the Enigma machine's potential as an educational resource and to allow as many people as possible to experience first-hand this rare historical object and to understand its scientific and cultural significance.
Since October 2004, the Enigma Project has been run under the wing of the Millennium Mathematics Project at the University of Cambridge and is one of a number of activities that aim to support maths education and promote the development of mathematical skills and understanding, particularly through enrichment and extension activities beyond the school curriculum.
The Enigma Project aims to get as many young people interested in maths, science and history as possible through the delivery of hands-on code breaking workshops in schools, museums and other educational establishments throughout the UK. Code making and breaking promotes problem solving skills and logical reasoning.
Summary of comments from teachers
"The children from our school were fascinated with the codebreaking and found the session both accessible and engaging… I really believe that being stretched and challenged in this way benefited the children and given them belief to go on and try and achieve their potential."
(Rachel, Teacher, primary school, UK)
"Excellent session – pupils wholly engaged throughout. Presentation was clearly explained and activities were enjoyable, accessible and challenging. Fascinating and fun!"
(Teacher, Exmouth Community College, Devon, UK)
"[The most useful aspect was] showing students how maths is used in the real world and allowing them to experience the satisfaction of solving apparently difficult problems." (Maths teacher, Caistor, Lincolnshire, UK)
"Created a buzz around the school – even sixth formers came along in their frees!" Anon
"The children from our school were fascinated with the codebreaking and found the session both accessible and engaging… I really believe that being stretched and challenged in this way benefited the children and given them belief to go on and try and achieve their potential." (Rachel, Teacher, Gravesend, UK)
“Good link made to careers” (Helen, maths teacher, Leedes, UK)
“James’ delivery was first class, he made the day go extremely well.” (Teacher, Hastings, UK)
“A super session. Many thanks to James.” Wolverhampton Gifted and Talented
“Very interesting and educational. Funny and lively too. Thank you.” Exmouth Community College - evening presentation
"Brilliant, fantastic, 10/10!" (Rachael, maths teacher, Essex, UK)
Summary of comments from students
"Thank you for coming to our school and showing us the Enigma machine. We thoroughly enjoyed it and enjoyed the way you presented it. You showed us a new aspect of maths that made us see and think differently about maths."
"I thought the Enigma code presentation was very interesting and a good change from the usual school work. It definitely made me think more than I usually would about maths and codes."
"I thought that it was going to be really hard and boring... but it was quite fun."
"I loved seeing the Enigma Machine. It was very interesting but I wish we had more time."
"Makes us think outside the box."
"This was an awesome experience and I hope we will be able to do this again next time, or more because this was too cool."
"I thought this codebreaking session was a lot of fun and challenging. It's hard until you get really into it and then it's quite interesting."
"I've learned a lot from the Enigma Project."
"I enjoyed this very much. The work was fun and the speaker was interesting and fun. I wish we could have done this all day."
"It was fun because it was challenging and I love a challenge.
"It was educational but also fun in a competitive way."
"I feel motivated because I have achieved something today."
“It was great for [the pupils] to meet a ‘real-life’ mathematician. As one of our children commented “I Thought that they all had mad hair and were nerdy!” (Rachel, Teacher, Gravesend, UK)
"ZNGTQ EIO LIX KBKXEZNOTM"
Photos taken of the Enigma Schools Project
Photos from El Limonar International School in Murcia, Spain.Photography by Martin Harbour.
Click an image for a larger version.