Denison Professor Deciphers Cryptology
Date of Event: September 24, 2009
Posted: September 24, 2009
A Denison University professor has updated a 40-year-old book that has been called “the art and science of reading secret messages.” The book, “The Elementary Cryptanalysis, 2nd Edition,” is Todd Feil’s updated and revised version of Abraham Sinkov’s original 1966 work. Sinkov was one of the first three hires (in 1930) for what eventually was to be the National Security Agency.
People are most familiar with elementary cryptology through solving the familiar “cryptogram” puzzles in the newspaper. But many don’t realize that cryptology can be viewed systematically. Published by the Mathematical Association of America, this charming book explains how to solve cryptograms based on elementary mathematical principles. Feil, a professor of mathematics and computer science at the college, has updated the book for the technological age by updating the language and adding two new chapters on modern methods.
Exercises are given throughout the text that help the reader understand the concepts. The book assumes minimal mathematical prerequisites and therefore explains from scratch such concepts as summation notation, matrix multiplication, and modular arithmetic. Even the mathematically sophisticated reader, however, will find some of the exercises challenging.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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