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VMs: Re: Cryptology As a Discipline
Stephen A Kallis, Jr. wrote:
" ... many disciplines began without their later academic
credentials. How many junior colleges, colleges, or
universities had a
Department of Computer Science in 1946? How many accredited
had an aeronautical engineering course in 1904?"
Good observation. Are you saying that cryptography has not
yet reached the level of application that aeronautical
engineering had in, say 1940, or computer science in maybe
1980? If the only reason for cryptography not yet receiving
similar academic respect is the time lag between
invention/early development and belated recognition in
establishments of higher learning, how much longer do you
think it will take for this delayed academic standing to
"For the record, during World War II, many colleges were
occupied by the
various military services to educate officers. Odds are
that under those
unusual circumstances, there were several courses on various
cryptology. I have in my modest crypto collection a copy of
Advanced Military Cryptography, issued on 8 June 1944, and
authored by the great William F. Friedman. I suspect that
employed in a number of offficer-training courses."
Probably true, but that didn't constitute academic
respectability 50+ years ago, and it certainly didn't take
root and thrive in the groves of academe.
"The question may better be, why _hasn't_ Cryptology become
discipline whereas Aeronautics, Computer Science, and later
Yes! The real key question, and I don't have the answer.
"The answer is probably because of perceived demand.
Frankly, many academic disciplines are training grounds for
practitioners in their area of interest. Somebody entering
institution of higher education usually has some idea off a
be it medicine, engineering, research, or pure scholarship.
students are struck with the ambition to become a
cryptanalyst. So the chances are that no institution has
need for such a department. Probably only the cipher
cryptology would be candidates to become a subfield of
Other areas such as Steganography or other nondigital means
concealment would be outside the areas of interest to a
Some merit in what you say.
"My comment, "Any discipline with the depth and scope of
is as valid an academic discipline as any other," still
holds. That no
institute has not bestirred itself to develop such a
department is not
the fault of the discipline."
To paraphrase a former US president, it all depends on what
"That is why I still believe that the best place to receive
would be the National Security Agency's museum."
I think that is an excellent choice. My suggestion of Yale
was intended to further our Voynich-related studies by
developing some rapport there to make it easier to obtain
various modes of technical access to the document.
"If elected, my highest priority upon taking office will be
to get the gazelles and the lions to negotiate a peaceful
solution to their long-standing differences." Tarzan,
Democratic candidate for King of the Jungle.
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