New cryptography class begins second semester

Cryptography teacher Hana Rhee teaches the class about Caesar ciphers on their first day of class.

Cryptography teacher Hana Rhee teaches the class about Caesar ciphers on their first day of class.

Stav Nachum, Sports Editor

From the dawn of time people have been using both cryptography and steganography to deliver encrypted and hidden messages to their allies and accomplices. Whether by rearranging letters in words to hide a meaning as Queen Mary of Scots used in her attempt to assassinate Queen Elizabeth or by using a long lost language such as Navajo in World War II to send messages, cryptography has been used around the world for ages.

A new course at Jefferson that focuses both on the history of cyphers and on how to decipher and encode letters, cryptography had its first class on Feb. 3 during both sixth and seventh period. Teaching the class for the first time in four years, cryptography teacher Hana Rhee is excited for what this semester course will bring for her students.

“This class is meant to introduce what cryptography is both today and in the past,” Rhee said. “I think a lot of students are hearing the terms these days but they don’t exactly know what they are and what we do with it and it is used more and more in real life so I think it’s an interesting topic for students to learn before they get into college.”

With many high hopes for the coming semester, Rhee was thrilled when she saw both classes were full of eager students wanting to learn more about cyphers and encryptions. Passing out her textbooks to each student along with the first assignment, Rhee was pleased when students eagerly began to read and decode their first assignment.

“I’m looking forward to this class because we look at different kinds of ciphers and crack codes which sounds difficult and fun,” junior Anugya Mittal said. “Also in books and television shows they always show people trying to crack codes and solve puzzles and its an interesting skill to have.”

Rhee eagerly anticipates introducing many of the different topics covered in the course to her students. Though fact intensive, Rhee believes that students will find the history of cryptography both interesting and bizarre before they have a chance to begin decoding and encrypting their own ciphers.

“I don’t have one favorite part of this course, I think everything is really exciting and it’s interesting when students learn how spies worked in the past and how we are using them in our daily lives,” Rhee said. “It’s just really cool when students understand some kind of cypher or encryption and they get that light bulb moment, it’s incredible to see.”