USNA Pure Mathematics Seminar



David Hamer

Visiting Research Scholar, Bletchley Park



On the Enigma machine


Abstract: This will be a historical talk on the Enigma machine used by German cryptographers during WWII.

We begin with a bit of history of the machine's development and the reasons behind that. Then we'll look in detail at several variants of the Enigma, the pluses and defects in the machine's design and the way in which these, together with operator errors and other factors, led to cryptanalytical success by the Allies in WW2. I may bring a 4-wheel German Navy Enigma with me.


Time: noon, Monday April 22, 2002

Place: Chauvenet 116


David Hamer was educated, in England and the United States, as a physical chemist but spent a great part of his career away from the sciences. After discovering that retirement was less than exciting he became involved in the world of data security and is now acting as a consultant to a well-known research organization which conducts international operations from its headquarters in the United States. He was recently appointed as Visiting Research Scholar by the Bletchley Park Trust - custodians of the museum at Bletchley Park - where he is a volunteer archivist. For more information, see

Reception at 11:45 in the common room on the 3rd floor of Chauvenet Hall.