Lectures exploring key historical developments, some of which have been driven by the contributions of Cambridge academics.
Enigma and the Turing Bombe
This lecture gives a description of the Enigma machine and how it was used operationally by the Germans, followed by an explanation of the how the Enigma messages were broken with the Turing Bombe. Mr Frank Carter works for the Bletchley Park Trust and is an expert on the methods used to break the Enigma and similar codes. He is one of Bletchley Park's most experienced guides and regularly lectures on Colossus and Enigma. He recently gave a lecture on Polish code-breaking achievements to an audience, which included the Polish Ambassador.
A history of Cambridge Computing
Between 1937 and 1970, computers were difficult to make, difficult to keep running and difficult to use. Since 1970, everything has become progressively easier. Today every academic has at least one computer on his or her desk, and the Computing Service has changed greatly as a result. In 1937 the remit of the Mathematical Laboratory at Cambridge included the requirement to provide a computing service for general use, and to be a centre for the development of computational techniques in the University. But computers as we now know them did not exist at that time. The EDSAC, developed by the Computing Service at Cambridge, was the world's first stored-program computer which successfully executed its first program in May 1949.
Cambridge Codebreakers and British Intelligence
The foundations of Cambridge's contribution to Bletchley Park's extraordinary successes in WWII were laid in the First World War when codebreaking helped both to defeat the U-Boats and bring the United States into the War. The successes of WWII in turn made possible the unprecedented codebreaking alliance between Britain and the US, which still continues. One of the alliance's early Cold War successes was to make the first crucial breakthrough in tracking down the 'Cambridge moles', whom the KGB considered its ablest foreign agents. Christopher Andrew is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Cambridge, he is also the Official Historian of MI5, Chair of the British Intelligence Study Group and President of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. His most recent book is 'The Mitrokhin Archive II: the KGB and the World' (Penguin).
Gods Secretaries The Making of the King James Bible
Acclaimed author Adam Nicolson discusses his landmark book, God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible.
What is Freedom
Freedom has become perhaps the most central value in current political debate. The lecture tries to clarify what is involved in invoking freedom as a justification. Quentin Skinner is Regius Professor of Modern History and a Fellow of Christ's College. His interests lie in the intellectual history of early-modern Europe, and he specialises in the Renaissance and in seventeenth-century political philosophy - in particular the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, on which he has published two books and numerous articles.