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Professor Michael Sternberg Head of Bioinformatics Imperial College London

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Cracking the Code of Life. Professor Michael Sternberg Head of Bioinformatics Imperial College London. Why I am here?. Bring a working scientist into a school A Royal Society Partnership Award to Mathilda Marks-Kennedy School

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slide1
Cracking the Code of Life

Professor Michael Sternberg

Head of Bioinformatics

Imperial College London

slide2
Why I am here?
  • Bring a working scientist into a school
  • A Royal Society Partnership Award to Mathilda Marks-Kennedy School
  • The Royal Society was set up in 1660 to help science and has been very important ever since.
slide4
How we work

My team just use computers

to crack the code of biology

Many scientists

work in laboratories

slide5
What we will do
  • Today
    • Writing in code
    • How people at Bletchley Park broke the German codes during World War II
    • How computers were invented to help crack codes
  • Next week
    • Bletchley Park Visit
  • Two weeks time
    • How Biology uses codes
slide6
Hiding what you write
  • Here is a way to send a secret message
  • Write with a special pen on paper
  • Give your message to your friend
  • Your friend has a special torch and can read the message.
slide7
But….
  • If someone else gets the paper, they could also a the special torch and read your message!!!
  • Not the best idea!!!
slide8
Sending a message in code

1) First two people meet and agree on the code

slide9
Sending a message in code

2) - The first person can then write

the message in code and send it

to the second person

slide10
Sending a message in code

3) The second person gets the message and then

changes the code back to the message.

Changing the code back is called ‘deciphering’.

slide12
One code is to shift the letters
  • Message Alphabet: abcdefgh…xyz
  • Code Alphabet: ABCDEFGH…XYZ
slide13
One code is to shift the letters
  • Message Alphabet: abcdefgh…xyz
  • Code Alphabet: ZABCDEFGH…XY
slide14
One code is to shift the letters
  • Message Alphabet: abcdefgh…xyz
  • Code Alphabet: YZABCDEFGH…X
slide15
Code wheel

Letter

in message

Letter

in code

slide16
Sending a message in code

First two people meet and agree on the code

Let’s use the shift code

and when the real letter

is ‘a’ the code will be ‘Y’

slide17
Sending a message in code

2) - The first person can then write

the message in code and send it

to the second person

Message : hello

Code: : FCJJM

slide18
Sending a message in code

3) The second person gets the message and then

changes the code back to the message.

Changing the code back is called ‘deciphering’.

Code: :FCJJM

Message : hello

slide20
Can someone else crack this code?

Code:L ORYH LFH FUHDP

Message:

slide21
Can someone else crack this code?

Code:L ORYH LFH FUHDP

Message: a

slide22
Can someone else crack this code?

Code:L ORYH LFH FUHDP

Message: adgns auw ujwse

slide23
Can someone else crack this code?

Code:L ORYH LFH FUHDP

Message:

slide24
Can someone else crack this code?

Code:L ORYH LFH FUHDP

Message: i

slide25
Can someone else crack this code?

Code:L ORYH LFH FUHDP

Message: i love ice cream

slide26
Can someone else crack this code?

Code:LORYHLFHFUHDP

in the code there are 3H, 2F, 2L

most common letters in ENGLISH is E

often used are: A, H, I, N,O,R,T

slide27
Can someone else crack this code?

Code:LORYHLFHFUHDP

Message: i?o?ei?e?rea?

slide28
Can someone else crack this code?

Code:LORYHLFHFUHDP

Message: iloveicecream

slide29
Better Codes

Scramble up alphabet

Message Alphabet: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

Code Alphabet: ZEGNALFDROHTUCBPJIMKSQWVYX

But still can be cracked by guessing that code letters

that are used often are for letters like E in English

slide30
The Enigma Machine
  • In World War II, the Germans used a machine called the Enigma Machine to make very clever codes
  • The Enigma Machine used several wheels to scramble up the message
slide31
The Enigma Machine

Wheels

Coded letters light up

Type in message

slide32
Bletchley Park

These codes were cracked here in World War II

slide33
Used wheels called Bombes

First they built a machine with wheels and lights

called a ‘Bombe’.

slide34
Computer called Colossus

Later they built the very first computer which was called ‘Colossus’.

slide35
Codes and Computers
  • We have learnt:
    • shifting or scrambling the alphabet makes codes
    • codes can be cracked by hard work
    • the first computer was built by the British to crack the Enigma code in World War II.
slide36
Thanks to....
  • Mrs Ben Ze’ev for suggesting this partnership
  • The Royal Society for providing funds
  • Dr Suhail Islam (Imperial College London ) for the wheels and the movie
  • My daughter for advice on what I should say and how I should make the slides.
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