What is enigma: Definition and 22 Discussions

The Enigma machine is a cipher device developed and used in the early- to mid-20th century to protect commercial, diplomatic, and military communication. It was employed extensively by Nazi Germany during World War II, in all branches of the German military. The Enigma machine was considered so secure that it was used to encipher the most top-secret messages.The Enigma has an electromechanical rotor mechanism that scrambles the 26 letters of the alphabet. In typical use, one person enters text on the Enigma's keyboard and another person writes down which of the 26 lights above the keyboard illuminated at each key press. If plain text is entered, the illuminated letters are the ciphertext. Entering ciphertext transforms it back into readable plaintext. The rotor mechanism changes the electrical connections between the keys and the lights with each keypress.
The security of the system depends on machine settings that were generally changed daily, based on secret key lists distributed in advance, and on other settings that were changed for each message. The receiving station would have to know and use the exact settings employed by the transmitting station to successfully decrypt a message.
While Nazi Germany introduced a series of improvements to the Enigma over the years, and these hampered decryption efforts, they did not prevent Poland from cracking the machine as early as December 1932 and reading messages prior to and into the war. Poland's sharing of her achievements enabled the western Allies to exploit Enigma-enciphered messages as a major source of intelligence. Many commentators say the flow of Ultra communications intelligence from the decrypting of Enigma, Lorenz, and other ciphers shortened the war substantially and may even have altered its outcome.

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  1. K

    The Probability of Rain: A Meteorologist's Perspective.

    I searched, "is infinity possible?" Because I was coming up with some thoughts which seemed logical (I hope) so I was compelled to find others discussing the topic to see if I even came close to several different answers.
  2. Vanadium 50

    A historical look at decrypting the Enigma

    I've been thinking about the German Enigma machine, and how it might have been analyzed in a more modern perspective, without using attacks using known (or guessed) plaintext. My understanding how the Engima worked is as follows: there are 3 (sometimes 4) rotars, each with 26 letters A-Z marked...
  3. jedishrfu

    Computer Anyone up to the Challenge of Building Enigma

  4. A

    What to do with a totally unclassifiable enigma?

    Hello, I am French, engineer in banking IT and I do not speak English very well. I would have a query for researchers and administrative woldwide search : (This is not for students, if there is a more suitable forum, please say so, I do not know science forums in the US). Suppose a person...
  5. M

    How the original Turing machine broke the enigma

    I just saw The Imitation Game and was wondering how the original Turing machine broke the enigma. Could someone explain it to me?
  6. C

    Magnetic field induction enigma?

    Hello all! I was researching about magnetism to investigate the processes which occur when a magnetic object is stuck onto a magnet. I gather that this will be due to the alignment of magnetic domains and as such, the sum of all these electron spins in one direction will cause the attraction to...
  7. E

    ENIGMA: Why put a glass rod in coffee cup?

    Hello All, One of my science teachers puts a glass rod in his coffee, but he won't tell us why... I was wondering if there was a physic/chemistry related explanation to this. He said that the effect did not occur before when he didn't put it in. Adding the glass rod ''solved the...
  8. StevieTNZ

    Bruce Rosenblum, author of Quantum Enigma

    Hi there, Here is my email to Bruce Rosenblum, author of Quantum Enigma, his reply below. But I was wondering if someone could elaborate more on what I'm asking as I'm utterly confused. Reply from Bruce: "All decoh does is make interference impossible, FAPP. Just FAPP! A mixture FAPP...
  9. L

    Exploring Quantum Enigma: What Happens When We Observe?

    I am reading Quantum Enigma on chapter 9 they do an experiment with 2 box if we open both box at same time we get an interference pastern of marble getting out and hitting the wall. If we open only 1 box at a time the marble hit the wall and no interference pastern is found because the act of...
  10. L

    Is the Photon's Energy Doubled in a Coherent Pair?

    What is the photon? Does it have a three dimensional shape? Why does it have an electric and magnetic component? Do these components give it a relationship to the electron and anti-electron? It must since the 1997 Stanford linear accelerator experiment of colliding energy beams created an...
  11. G

    Enigma of the butterfly effect

    I am trying to understand the so called "butterfly effect". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect By wording used to describe it, audience gains an intuitive impression that a small initial action of some sort can produce very large changes in system including unleashing storms that...
  12. B

    Find Challenging Enigma Questions and Sites - Ask Erloooo!

    erloooo everybody! I was just wondering if anybody could recommend me any challenging enigma question books...?! or even urls for some interesting sites regarding enigma... ty!
  13. S

    Solve 6th Grade Enigma with Integers 8, 4, 2, 1 in Order

    This is supposed to be a 6th grade problem. using integers 8 4 2 1 in order, create an equation to equal 18 and another to equal 19. you may use + - % X and exponents (^) in the same order. Now if the integers and operands (including exponent) are to be in any order then the answers are...
  14. N

    My Vector Enigma: Solving Analytically w/ Trig Functions

    My question follows off of the picture attached. I have been able to answer both questions, but I still have questions of my own. I had to solve them geometrically using the Law of Cosines and the Law of Sines...why is it that I am not able to break it into components using the trig...
  15. wolram

    Is Wolram an Enigma? Exploring Reasons Why

    If so Why? i will not be hurt if you tell the truth.
  16. marcus

    The Goldilocks Enigma by PCW Davies

    PCW Davies has a fun paper out called THE PROBLEM OF WHAT EXISTS http://arxiv.org/astro-ph/0602420 the paper cites a new book in the works by Davies Davies, P.C.W. (2006) The Goldilocks Enigma (Allen Lane, London), in the press. if you want something to illustrate the "goldilocks" idea...
  17. J

    The Hardest Internet Enigma - Can You Solve It?

    "Hardest internet enigma" http://www.frvade.com/ 646107 people have tried it since it started in April '05. When I tried a month or so back, no one had finished it. I like to consider myself a fairly smart guy, but I tried it and definitely only made it to level 5 or 6 before giving up...
  18. wolram

    The Stone Enigma: How Did They Move 500 Tons?

    Around 2000BC a group of welsh people transported 98 blue stones, weighing 6 tons each, from the highest point of Carn Meini aprox 1000ft, in the Preseli hills Penbrokshire, to Salisbury Plain Wiltshire, a trip of more than 200 miles. AFAIK these people did not have the wheel or any...
  19. matthyaouw

    The Atlantis Enigma Book Review by Herbie Brennan

    "The Atlantis Enigma" Has anyone read The Atlantis Enigma by Herbie Brennan? A friend reccomended it to me, saying certain bits were worth a read. I'm as far as page 6 and already I'm loosing the will to live. There is no referencing whatsoever, more speculation than I thought possible and he...
  20. X

    Solve Physics Lab Black Box Enigma

    I was recently given a physics lab and it's very hard for me to complete. We were shown a demonstration in which some unknown object was in a "black box." There was a wire leading from the box that was plugged in, thus the object was charged. A light bulb was led around the box. Then, at the...
  21. T

    Math Symbol "Enigma" - Does it Represent "There Exists"?

    "Enigma" Is this the correct name for a math symbol that represents the phrase, "There exists"? I believe it's something like an 'E'.
  22. K

    Flying Rods: A Fascinating Enigma

    Flying Rods I strongly believe that flying rods are evoluted on earth, not from the outer space as I don't think they can build any spaceships, nor pass through the atmosphere without getting burnt. However I'm wondering how come they can fly so fast that we can hardly see them with our...