Top banner
MY AMERICAN SCIENTIST
LOG IN! REGISTER!
SEARCH
 
RSS
Logo

FEATURE ARTICLE

A Cipher to Thomas Jefferson

A collection of decryption techniques and the analysis of various texts combine in the breaking of a 200-year-old code

Lawren M. Smithline

Figure%201.%20Patterson's%20letter%20and%20portraits%20of%20Patterson%20and%20JeffersonClick to Enlarge ImageOn Christmas Day, 1801, Thomas Jefferson received a letter from University of Pennsylvania mathematician Robert Patterson. The last page of that letter employed a cipher described in earlier pages, but Patterson did not include the key. It took more than two centuries for the puzzle to be solved, using a method that has become common in computational biology. The theory behind the cryptanalysis is of the computer age, but the calculating power necessary is of Patterson’s time.


 Go to Article

 

EMAIL TO A FRIEND :


Bottom Banner