Roughly once a month on a Sunday morning, I take my son Alex along to a local kids’ group called Surrey Explorers for what is almost always a fascinating and hands-on talk about something a little unusual / challenging / stretchy / geeky / fun. Recent talks included “The Science of Zombies” (given by Surbiton zombie kung fu science fan-girl Anna Tanczos) as well as one on all sorts of weird and wonderful anamorphic art. These are normally held at Kingston University’s Kingston Hill campus, not too far from the A3.
Anyway, given that (a) I think Surrey Explorers is great, and (b) I blog about what is surely the coolest (if occasionally utterly ridiculous) geek thing going, I thought it was time to give something back to the group. Which is why I’ll be giving the best cipher mystery talk for kids ever there, entitled “Codes and Ciphers in History and Mystery – from The Hobbit to Winston Churchill” on 3rd February 2013 at 10.30am till 12.30pm. Hence the answer to the question “What’s on in Kingston for kids in February?”, the answer is now officially meeeeeeee.
As you’d expect, there’ll be no big surprises about the subject matter (errr… the clue’s in the title). I’ll be starting with a bit of interactive Hobbity rune stuff (A.K.A. “Futhark”), moving on to some real-life magical ciphers and recipes, then rapidly whizzing through a millennium or so of concealed writing (particularly those mysterious ones that nobody can yet read, Cipher Mysteries regulars will be utterly unsurprised to hear), before finishing up with the latest on that dead pigeon code that has so enthralled the media over recent months.
To end the day, I’ll answer questions on just about any cipher-related question anyone cares to throw my way, and perhaps give some recommendations about cool kids’ books based on ciphers.
If you have children aged 6-13 who this might be fun for, I hope to see you & them there – I’m a big fan of Surrey Explorers, and wish more people knew about it, so it would be great to have a full house!
PS: if you want links to some cipher articles to get you in the mood, I’d suggest
* The Phaistos Disk
* Voynich Manuscript
* Beale Papers
* Rohonc Codex
* The Dorabella Cipher
* The Unknown Man
* The Zodiac Killer