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Maths Jam July 2012 – Paper Enigma

Having discovered this wonderful design for a paper Enigma machine, which uses a standard size crisp tube and does a pretty good job of encoding things like an Enigma machine, I decided it was worth trying it out. What better opportunity to use something which can encode secret messages than to send messages between two monthly Maths Jam events via the medium of Twitter? The public sending of the messages would be incomprehensible to anyone not willing to get their hands dirty with a crisp tube and scissors. Unless they’ve got an actual Enigma machine.

Here’s a video Christian and I have made, which roughly outlines how it all went down. I strongly apologise that the footage of Manchester Maths Jam is all left-right mirrored – this is because we decided to hold this month’s Maths Jam in an alternate mirror universe, where the cube on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the cubes on the other two sides, and pi is exactly three.

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This Storify page shows the exchange, as it happened, on Twitter.

5 Responses to “Maths Jam July 2012 – Paper Enigma”

    • Avatar Christian Perfect

      We may have used those apps to check our encryptions. May.

      They’re very good! They look just like a real enigma machine! You even have to roll the rotors round with your thumb.

      • Avatar t kbriggs

        Haha, yes I really like them, but I’m going to get my teeth into making a paper one…

  1. Avatar Matthew

    It was a fun mirror universe, but I think we should have made the paper Enigma whilst in the universe, as cutting out an exact multiple of 3 would have been easier…


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