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NKRYPT

Eight stainless steel vertical poles about 2 metres in height are spaced apart and embedded into a concrete and paved garden area. On each of the poles are laser cut out cryptographic symbols.
Four stainless steel vertical poles about 2 metres in height are spaced apart and embedded into a concrete and paved garden area. On each of the poles are laser cut out cryptographic symbols.

Hidden messages can be communicated using encryption or code.

How it works

Eight stainless steel pillars are covered in letters, numbers or symbols, creating eight encrypted messages for you to decipher.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • Which pillar's code is easiest to solve?
  • Where do we use code today?

Background

Cryptography is the process of encrypting a message so it cannot be easily read by someone who intercepts the message either accidentally or illegally (such as hackers).

Encryption occurs through codes or ciphers. A code is a word or phrase that represents something else. This was the traditional method of encrypting information and required large codebooks in order to cross reference terms used to decode the information. ‘The goose is cooked’ could mean ‘the mission is complete’ for example during wartime.

A cipher works on the level of individual letters or small groups of letters. In modern electronic cryptography, ciphers represent individual bits and blocks of bits, so electronic information can be encrypted in a similar fashion.

Finding the science in your world

Everyday examples of encryption can be found within electronic communication used by banks, internet service providers and mobile phone companies, in an attempt to transfer data so it cannot be intercepted and translated by criminals.

Today, cryptography is usually undertaken using computers and complex algorithms, in an attempt to thwart hackers who are also using technology to decipher encrypted information.

You can find out more information by visiting the Meet NKRYPT web page.