Breaking the Codes


PRODUCER: Artur Ekert, Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore
UNDER DEVELOPMENT by Karol Jałochowski and Sergiusz Wasilewski

Documentary movie Breaking the Codes tells the story of cryptology. It begins with human origins and lurks into the future. It will give a closer look to the turning points of world history, which were determined by the usage or misusage of codes and ciphers.

We will provocatively ask whether it is really mathematics that is the Queen of the sciences. Our humble suggestion will be: Perhaps it is cryptology that rules the world.

We’ll show that the dynamics of civilization is clocked by the struggle between cipher creators and those who break them. But there’s more to cryptology than the power games. Encrypting and decrypting is the fundamental function of our brains.

We’ll present Skytale, Caesar cipher, Al-Kindi’s research, achievements of Leon Battista Alberti and Blaise de Vigenere, geniuses of Alan Turing and Marian Rejewski, people who broke the unbreakable Enigma, and other episodes of the long storyline of cryptology. We’ll also explain what the perfect cipher is, and why it doesn’t exist in the classical world – only to introduce the phenomena of quantum key distribution protocols.

By the way, some of the hints on what the quantum key distribution is really about are given by Artur Ekert, the leading expert in the field. Below.

Cryptology will be presented against the wide background of arts and science. We’ll argue that they are the most fundamental efforts in decrypting and encrypting nature and human experience. The one hour long documentary will be hosted by Artur Ekert, Professor of Quantum Physics at University of Oxford and Lee Kong Chian Centennial Professor at the National University of Singapore (he’s also Director of the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore).

Several historians and key figures of classical and quantum cryptology will be interviewed – Charles Bennett, David Deutsch, Christian Kurtsiefer, Clifford Cocks, and others.

The movie was written by me and Artur Ekert, and it is in the pre-production phase, although a full feature pilot is available. We’ve already filmed on locations in Arizona, New Mexico, Singapore, and Poland (pictures above).

This is a personal website of Karol Jalochowski, a science journalist, reporter, and documentary film maker of POLITYKA weekly (supported by CQT/NUS).