Codebreaker notebook and Enigma machine at auction

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Thorlifter, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    British code breaker Alan Turing's notebook at auction - Yahoo News

    NEW YORK (AP) — A handwritten notebook by British World War II code-breaking genius Alan Turing is expected to bring at least $1 million at auction in New York on Monday.

    The 56-page manuscript was written at the time the mathematician and computer science pioneer was working to break the seemingly unbreakable Enigma codes used by the Germans throughout the war. It contains Turing's complex mathematical and computer science notations and is believed to be the only extensive Turing manuscript known to exist, according to Bonhams, which is offering the manuscript for sale.

    The story of how Turing and a team of cryptanalysts broke the code was portrayed in the 2014 movie "The Imitation Game," starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of Turing.

    The notebook dates from 1942, when they were at Britain's World War II code and cypher school Bletchley Park. In one entry, Turing writes about a complex calculus notation.

    "The Leibniz notation I find extremely difficult to understand in spite of it having been the one I understood the best once! It certainly implies that some relation between x and y has been laid down eg, y=x2+3x."

    The sale also includes a working German Enigma enciphering machine. The three-rotor device was manufactured for the German military in July 1944. It's estimated to sell for $140,000 to $180,000.

    Turing was prosecuted for being gay at a time when it was illegal in Britain. He was convicted of indecency in 1952 and agreed to undergo hormone treatment as an alternative to imprisonment to "cure" his homosexuality.

    He died in 1954 of cyanide poisoning. It was ruled a suicide, although his family and friends believed it might have been accidental. The notebook was among the papers he left in his will to friend and fellow mathematician Robin Gandy.

    Gandy gave the papers to The Archive Centre at King's College in Cambridge in 1977. But he kept the notebook, using its blank pages for writing down his dreams at the request of his psychiatrist. Bonham describes Gandy's entries as highly personal; the notebook remained in his possession until he died in 1995.

    At the beginning of his journal, Gandy writes: "It seems a suitable disguise to write in between these notes of Alan's on notation, but possibly a little sinister; a dead father figure, some of whose thoughts I most completely inherited."

    Bonhams said the seller wished to remain anonymous. Part of the proceeds will be donated to charity.
     
  2. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Would love to have an enigma machine. I would send seemingly unbreakable codes to myself all day long. Things like what women want and how come I can never find my socks.
     
  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Interesting stuff. Turing had lived just a few miles from where I now live, and only a few hundred yards from where my (now ex) wife lived when we first met.
    Be interesting to see what the items fetch, especially the note book.
     
  4. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Is there any point in having one enigma machine?
     
  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Beats the hell out of none.
     
  6. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Like buying one WWII US walkie-talkie.
     
  7. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    So how much did it go for?
     
  8. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Knowing what women want is the ultimate unbreakable code. Find the solution and you'll be rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
     
  9. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    What women want is easy. For men to understand them. That, my fellow males-of-the-species, is the hard bit. Never gonna happen.
     
  10. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Sure to put it in your collection of WW2 artifacts.

    I would take one...
     
  11. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    As a hobby I'm writing the enigma algorithm as a program. Bit like a simulator. It's a project I started to understand how the thing worked. As a code it is totally insecure and a modernday computer will crack the messages in seconds. Much better encryption is available now. Still, would like to have one.
     
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