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Joan Clarke, woman who cracked Enigma with Alan Turing


Stashed in: Women, History of Tech!, Turing, XX, Extraordinary People

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It was a team effort by humans and machines... but it's nice to see Joan Clarke getting some recognition in her lifetime.

She died in 1996 but this movie will make her known to a wider audience of people.

Because of the secrecy that still surrounds events at Bletchley Park, the full extent of Clarke's achievements remains unknown.

Although she was appointed MBE in 1947 for her work during WW2, Clarke, who died in 1996, never sought the spotlight, and rarely contributed to accounts of the Enigma project.

But the esteem in which she was held by her colleagues, and the fact that "her equality with the men was never in question, even in those unenlightened days", as Michael Smith writes, are a tribute to her remarkable abilities.

As The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum puts it, she succeeded as a female in cryptanalysis at a time "when intelligence wasn't really appreciated in women".

There were a handful of other female codebreakers at Bletchley, notably Margaret Rock, Mavis Lever and Ruth Briggs, but as Kerry Howard - one of the few people to research their roles in GCCS - explains, their contributions are hardly noted anywhere.

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