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June 26, 2019

Calgary’s Link to The Imitation Game

Calgary’s Link to The Imitation Game You can visit a piece of the Alan Turing biopic right here at home. By Andrew Guilbert February 02, 2015 Photograph courtesy of The Military Museums If you haven’t seen it yet, The Imitation game follows brilliant mathematician Alan Turing and a crew of…

Calgary’s Link to The Imitation Game

You can visit a piece of the Alan Turing biopic right here at home.

Photograph courtesy of The Military Museums

If you haven’t seen it yet, The Imitation game follows brilliant mathematician Alan Turing and a crew of dedicated code crackers working in secret for the British government during the Second World War as they attempt to uncover the secret to axis power Germany’s encrypted messages. The method the Germans used to encode their messages involved using a rotor-cipher device called an enigma machine, an apparatus so complex it takes Turing and his crew years to build a competing machine to crack the code.

So now you know the story, but did you know that Calgary is home to an authentic Second World War-era enigma machine? Housed in the Naval Museum of Alberta, one of the eight galleries in The Military Museums, the machine has been on permanent loan from Honorary Colonel Fred Mannix since 2010.

This particular enigma machine is known as an Enigma-K, a Swiss-built model with three rotors introduced in 1927, a precursor to the larger, four rotor German models which came into use during the Second World War and were far more difficult to decipher.

If your curiosity has been piqued and you’d like to know more, Turing was also the topic of a number of events and lectures in Calgary during Alan Turing Year in 2012, many of which, including one on the topic of Turing’s work with enigma by University of Calgary history professor John Ferri, can still be seen on mathtube.org.

To see the machine, visit The Military Museums, 4520 Crowchild Tr. S.W., 403-410-2340, themilitarymuseums.ca

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