Campers will explore the origins of codes and ciphers and how they have evolved from written messages to complex digital encryption methods in use today. They will learn how to recreate these techniques themselves and crack the messages sent by their fellow cryptographers, all while reinforcing skills in math, language, and pattern recognition.
What better setting than PARI, which once operated as a spy station for the Department of Defense during the Cold War, where messages were being intercepted and deciphered? Another element in the sending of secrets is how you transport them from place to place. We’ll take a look at the technologies, both past and present, that allow information to zip out to distant satellites and back down to Earth. How do we make sure our sensitive transmissions don’t end up in the wrong hands?
From messages based on playing with words and numbers, to hiding information in plain sight in images and everyday objects, you’d never suspect all the ways cryptography is used all around us. Campers will leave with an understanding of the principles that drive the world and keep our data safe.
Without using writing or your voice, how would you send information to another person?
Blink different colors of light. 🚥
Change the brightness of a light. 💡
Punch holes in a piece of paper to project a pattern.
Learn the variety of ways that letters can be represented by numbers, colors, patterns, and even stranger things.
Explore systems for communicating like Morse Code, Braille, ASCII, and Emoji.
Use radio telescopes and antennas to intercept data from satellites. Determine the methods being used to encode their transmissions using skills and techniques you’ve learned. Compare to examples you research on your own to back up your conclusions.
Practice mathematic techniques like modulation to shift numbers into different forms.
Analyze patterns in English words and sentences.
Encode information in pictures, sounds, and light.
Create a unique way to hide your own messages.
Crack the codes created by others.
Study the ways that data is encrypted as it travels through the internet.
Develop teamwork skills by collaborating with others while attempting to solve complex problems.
Register for Secrets of a Spy Station Camp Presented by PARI and Clemson University