Related Resources


Backgrounder #4 by Etkina & Mestre, "Implications of Learning Research for Teaching Science to Non-Science Majors"

Backgrounder #5 by Ferguson, "Mathematical and Statistical Reasoning in Compelling Contexts: Quantitative Approaches for Building and Interrogating Personal, Disciplinary, Interdisciplinary and Worldviews"

Backgrounder #7 by McGuire, "Reinventing Myself as a Professor: The Catalytic Role of SENCER"


May 2004, "The SENCER Model Series: Seven New Models Introduced for SSI 2004" (p. 4)

Sept. 2004, "Implications of Learning Research .." (p. 4)

Nov. 2004, "SENCER SALG Update: Math SALG Developed" (p. 4, 6)

Outside resources:


Both the students and the instructor can be helped by choosing a suitable text to support the "technical" part of the course. Amazon today lists more than 3,000 titles about cryptography. Only a few among these might be suitable for the course described here. The book should be written at an appropriate level and in an appropriate style. Below is a list of titles I would inspect. There certainly may be other suitable texts.

  • Cryptology by Albrecht Beutelspacher (Spectrum), 172 pp paperback, MAA, 1996, $38.95
  • Cryptological Mathematics (Classroom Resource Material) by Robert Edward Lewand, 214 pp paperback, MAA, 2000, $38.95. This is supported by a Web page.
  • Cryptography Demystified by John Hersey, 356 pp paperback, McGraw-Hill, 2002, $34.96
  • Invitation to Cryptography by Thomas H. Barr, 396 pp hardcover, Pearson, 2002, $78.67

Here are two books republished from an earlier era, before public key cryptography and the widespread use of computers. The authors were professionals in the field.

  • Cryptanalysis by Helen F. Gaines, 237 pp paperback, Dover, $8.95
  • Elementary Cryptanalysis: A Mathematical Approach (New Mathematical Library) by Abraham Sinkov, 232 pp paperback, MAA, $25.95

Finally, two books on the history of the subject. The first gives a British point of view, especially interesting regarding the discovery of public key cryptography inside the British version of the National Security Agency before this was done by members of the academic community. The second book, a huge text, is the standard reference on the history of cryptography.

  • The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh, 411 pp paperback, Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1999, $15.00
  • The Codebreakers: The Story of Secret Writing by David Kahn, 1200 pp hardcover, Scribner, 1966, $70.00

There are many other books, both nonfiction and fiction with cryptographic themes. Modern fiction with some cryptographic content ranges from a Dorothy Sayers mystery where Lord Peter Wimsey decrypts a message written using the Playfair cipher, to the recent novel Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson, which essentially has a tutorial on cryptography and its history buried in its 1168 pages!

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