Wadham in the World: Bletchley Park: Mathematicians & National Security

Date Published: 24.11.2022

The second Wadham in the World event took place on 23 November in the Holywell Music Room.

Carolin Duttlinger welcomes our 'Bletchley Park: Mathematicians & National Security' panel

Carolin Duttlinger introduces our speakers to the Holywell Music Room for 'Bletchley Park: Mathematicians & National Security'.

For the second in our series of 'Wadham in the World' events, we welcomed a distinguished panel of speakers to the Holywell Music Room. If you missed the event or would like to watch again, Bletchley Park: Mathematicians & National Security is still available to watch.

Carolin Duttlinger, Sub Warden and Fellow in German at Wadham, introduced Professor Sir Roger Penrose, Fellow of Wadham and Nobel Laureate; Professor Andrew Hodges, Fellow of Wadham and author of 'Alan Turing: The Enigma'; Tony Comer, former historian of GCHQ; and Daniel Shiu, mathematician and cryptographer.

Professor Hodges set the scene by taking us back to World War II when the most abstract of scientific minds were mobilised to influence its outcome. These included leading mathematicians who were deployed to work on the making and breaking of cyber systems that were used in naval and military communications.

Professor Sir Roger Penrose shared his memories of the great mathematicians who worked at Bletchley Park, including his stepfather, Max Newman. With Tony Comer and Daniel Shiu, he and Professor Hodges discussed what happened there and debated the question of its aftermath before taking questions from the audience.

Thank you to all our guests for this fascinating event.