NCTM San Diego Presentation Summary

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Back to NCTM San Diego: Interdisciplinary Math
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This is the summary of a presentation given at the 74th Annual NCTM Meeting, 25-28 April 1996, San Diego, CA.
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The Mathematics of Codes Through Literature and History - Tales From De-Crypt

Hiding, protecting, and dis-covering messages have been with us since secret love notes were first passed and Caesar sent secret news back to Rome. Edgar Alan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle based tales on ciphers; the events of WW II were powerfully influenced by each side's capacity "to read each other's mail." Applications of cryptology can span the mathematics curriculum and can illuminate literature and social studies. We will apply mathematical coding methods to debug Poe's puzzle and to de-mystify Doyle's Dancing Men. WW II naval history will provide additional sources, such as the battle of Midway Island in 1942.The presenters are co-directors of an NSF-supported teacher-enhancement project at Hofstra University. Coding theory is a popular topic in that curriculum.

David Knee (Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY)
William J. McKeough (Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY)

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The Math Forum * ** 26 March 1996