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Mathematics Professor Writes Book on World's Greatest Unsolved Ciphers

July 20, 2017
Craig Bauer

“Unsolved! The History and Mystery of the World’s Greatest Ciphers from Ancient Egypt to Online Secret Societies,” by Craig Bauer, begins by explaining the basics of cryptology, and then explores the history behind ancient ciphers, ciphers created by artists and composers, ciphers left by killers and victims, Cold War ciphers, and many others.

Some are infamous, like the ciphers in the Zodiac letters, while others were created purely as intellectual challenges taken on by figures such as Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman. Bauer lays out the evidence surrounding each cipher, describes the efforts of geniuses and eccentrics ― in some cases both ― to decipher it, and invites readers to try their hand at puzzles that have stymied so many others.

Discover magazine said, “The DaVinci Code has nothing on this exhaustive collection of cryptographs and codes – because these are real. From a still-indecipherable 14th-century manuscript to spy communications to the infamous coded taunts of the Zodiac Killer, Bauer shows how experts try to crack the case.”

Bauer is a professor of mathematics at York College. He served as the Scholar-in-Residence at National Security Agency’s Center for Cryptologic History during a leave of absence for the 2011-12 academic year. The initial work for this book was supported by this residency program. He is also the author of “Secret History: The Story of Cryptology.”

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