A few notes on Singh’s The Code Book
It seems that nine out of ten readers don’t read/like my book posts, so I probably will try to hold back on those in the future or at least put a bit less effort into them. But I thought I’d just post a quick note here anyway:
I spent part of yesterday and a big chunk of today reading Simon Singh’s The Code Book. I generally liked the book – if you liked Fermat’s last Theorem, you’ll probably like this book too. I didn’t think much of the last two chapters, but the rest of it was quite entertaining and instructive. You know you have your hands on a book that covers quite a bit of stuff when you find yourself looking up something in an archaeology textbook to check some details in a book about cryptography (the book has a brief chapter which covers the decipherment of the linear B script, among other things). Having read the book, I can’t not mention here that I blogged this some time ago – needless to say, back then I had no idea how big of a name Hellman is ‘in the cryptography business’ (this was a very big deal – in Singh’s words: “The Diffie-Hellman-Merkle key exchange scheme […] is one of the most counterintuitive discoveries in the history of science, and it forced the cryptographic establishment to rewrite the rules of encryption. […] Hellman had shattered one of the tenets of cryptography and proved that Bob and Alice did not need to meet to agree a secret key.” (p.267))
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