The num8er my5teries – The case of the uncrackable code (2006)

Marcus du Sautoy

In his penultimate Lecture, Professor Marcus du Sautoy investigates the clever ways people have hidden messages and how mathematicians turned from code breakers to code makers.

Watch time: 39:06
A still from Marcus du Sautoy's 2006 CHRISTMAS LECTURE
Credit: Royal Institution

Lecture 4 – The case of the uncrackable code

In his penultimate Lecture, Professor Marcus du Sautoy investigates the clever ways people have hidden messages and how mathematicians turned from code breakers to code makers. 

Find out how the mathematics of codes lets us do everything from photographing the surface of Mars to shopping securely on the internet.

About the 2006 CHRISTMAS LECTURES

Marcus Du Sautoy’s lectures take us on a grand tour of the fascinating world of mathematics. From numbers to shapes and from codes to chaos, the Num8er My5teries explore some of the great stories of mathematics.

The five Lectures show how a small amount of maths can bring alive some of the most exciting mysteries of the universe.

Marcus breaks down popular misconceptions about maths by revealing how mathematics has helped build the modern world. Every time we download a song from iTunes, take a flight across the Atlantic or talk on our mobile phones, we are relying on the great inventions of mathematics.

At the heart of every lecture is a conundrum that has stumped mathematicians and for which a million dollar reward was offered for a solution.

2006 CHRISTMAS LECTURES supporters

18 and 19 August holiday workshops cancelled

Due to planned transport strikes, all holiday workshops on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 August are cancelled.