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Patron: Her Majesty the Queen

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The Royal Scottish Society of Arts
Showcasing Scotland's Science, Technology and Innovation



Opening Meeting of the 180th Session (2000-2001)

"ULTRA SECRET"
Enigma and Colossus: World War II
Code Breaking and the Birth
of the Electronic Computer

Anthony Sale
Hon FBCS,
and founding Museum Director at Bletchley Park, Bedfordshire

at the Royal Museum Lecture Theatre,
Chambers Street, Edinburgh
On Monday 27 November 2000, at 7.00 pm

Members of the Public are welcome to attend
(Entry to the Museum Lecture Theatre is at the rear of the Museum, in Lothian Street)

Bletchley Park, or "Station X", was the top secret British centre for military code breaking during the Second World War. Here the German Enigma codes were progressively broken and thousands of dedicated specialists laboured around the clock to decipher intercepts and generate the "Ultra" intelligence that was so vital for Churchill's direction of the war.

It is only in very recent years that the veil of secrecy has been lifted and the story of Bletchley Park and the tense struggle against Enigma can be told. However, it was only in September 2000 that the Government's GCHQ intelligence centre finally released details of Bletchley's highly classified work on the Colossus computer. The world's first electronic computer was developed by Alan Turing and close colleagues at Bletchley Park to decode German High Command intercepts - the most sensitive messages between Hitler and his generals - and it helped pave the way for the success of the D Day landings in 1944. After the war, all references to code breaking were kept absolutely secret and almost all the equipment from Bletchley (including eight Colossus computers) was destroyed.

Tony Sale will describe the nature and drama of Bletchley Park's work, and he will show how he and his team were able to glean enough information to rebuild a Colossus computer and demonstrate the extraordinary code breaking power of the machine.


Society Business

The President, Dr Allen D C Simpson, will occupy the Chair.

  1. Nominations for Fellowship, to be taken at the Second meeting of the Session.
  2. Notice of meetings for the 2000-01 Session.
  3. The Society's Medal will be awarded to Mr Sale.

Graham Rule, Secretary


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