This page contains a summary of currently available talks, presentations, and lectures by Elonka Dunin, though feel free to suggest something new! To see a list of where many of these talks have been given, check here.

More information about Elonka Dunin:
Famous Unsolved Codes: Kryptos

Kryptos is an encrypted sculpture in the middle of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Composed of large copper sheets engraved with thousands of characters, it carries a series of ciphers. Three of the four have been solved, but the fourth section, 97 characters at the very bottom, remains uncracked. It is one of the most famous unsolved codes in the world, even referred to in Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code-sequel The Lost Symbol. Cryptographer Elonka Dunin (namesake for the "Nola Kaye" character in Brown's novel), and one of the few people from outside the CIA to have seen the sculpture in person, will review the sculpture's history, going over the parts that have been solved, and discussing efforts to crack the famous unsolved section, K4.

The Friedman Tombstone

William and Elizebeth Friedman, married in 1917, became a couple that is legendary within the cryptologic community. Starting their collaboration while looking for ciphers in the works of William Shakespeare, their efforts grew into codebreaking for the United States. They created the curriculum for the first class of World War I codebreakers, and then each went on to legendary careers. Elizebeth was a renowned code-breaker, solving ciphers throughout both World Wars, foiling the efforts of Nazis and international smugglers. William wrote extensively about the techniques of code-breaking, coined the terms "cryptanalysis" and "index of coincidence" and created the manuals which became required reading for American military cryptographers. Together, they created the foundation for what today is known as the National Security Agency. In 2017 Elonka, on a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, noticed that the Friedmans had also hidden a cipher on their tombstone! Come to this talk to learn all the details about the cipher, and the lives of these two extraordinary individuals.

Encrypted Art of Jim Sanborn

Cryptographer Elonka Dunin discusses the works of American sculptor Jim Sanborn, creator of the CIA's Kryptosi sculpture and other of his encryption-themed works of art around the United States.

Famous Unsolved Codes: The Beale Papers

Hear cryptographer Elonka Dunin (recently featured on the television series The Myth Hunters) talk about the speculation around the 19th century Beale ciphers, and the generations of treasure seekers who have sought to crack them. One of the ciphers, decoded with the Declaration of Independence, claimed of treasure buried in Bedford County, Virginia. The other two messages remain unsolved.

Famous Unsolved Codes: The Voynich Manuscript

Considered "The Most Mysterious Manuscript in the World", the Voynich Manuscript is over 500 years old, with hundreds of pages of an unknown writing system, hundreds of images of unidentified plants, and many other images of mysterious locations and contraptions. It has sparked the interest of codebreakers for generations -- Is it a hoax, a secret language, an encrypted message? Come hear more about the mystery at this intriguing talk by world-famous cryptographer Elonka Dunin.

Famous Unsolved Codes

What do all of these have in common? A sculpture in the center of CIA Headquarters. A 500-year-old manuscript hidden in Yale University's Beinecke library. A 19th century pamphlet describing a buried treasure in Virginia. An encrypted scrawl by composer Edward Elgar. They are all high on the list of the "World's Most Famous Unsolved Codes". Come hear cryptographer Elonka Dunin, namesake for one of the characters in Dan Brown's novel "The Lost Symbol", talk about these mysteries and more!

Wikipedia: Communicating with the Hive Mind

Do you have questions about the "Encyclopedia anyone can edit"? Would you like to learn more about its history, and its strange culture behind-the-scenes? Would you like to get involved, or have you ever tried to create an article, or even a single edit, and then watch it mysteriously vanish? Come hear from longtime Wikipedia administrator Elonka Dunin, who will talk about the history of the project, its hive-mind culture, and the best ways to get involved.

Geocaching: The worldwide crowd-sourced game

In May 2000, President Clinton announced that "Selective Availability" would be removed from the Global Positioning System satellites, allowing civilians to have improved accuracy with publicly available receivers. Within 24 hours, a game had begun. A geocache (a bucket full of toys) was placed in Oregon, the placer noted the latitude and longitude, posted it on Usenet, and then others went to see if they could find what he had hidden. Geocaches rapidly started showing up all over the world, and by 2005, 180,000 geocaches had been hidden. By 2015, there were over 2.7 million geocaches, with over 6 million people around the world participating in the sport of placing and finding them. In 2018, the numbers have risen to over 3 million geocaches and over 7 million people playing the game. Most geocaches are "Traditional", meaning that a finder needs only to know the latitude and longitude to start their search. But many caches use puzzles and/or cryptography which a finder must first solve, in order to determine the final coordinates. In this talk, Elonka Dunin, an avid geocacher herself, will give an overview of the history and culture of geocaching, with a special focus on the types of codes and ciphers being used in this massive crowd-sourced game.

Related Geocaching talks:

Fact and Fiction of the Knights Templar

The mysterious Order of the Knights Templar is often referred to in modern books, films, and games. How much is known about this organization? Were they really associated with the Holy Grail? The Priory of Sion? Freemasonry? Come hear Elonka Dunin, namesake for the "Nola Kaye" character in one of Dan Brown's novels, sift the facts from the rumors about this mysterious organization from the Crusades.

Game Jams: How to Make a Game in 48 Hours

The gaming industry is burgeoning with creative new games. At Game Jams, teams of both amateur and professional game developers meet to make games in a single weekend. If you've always been curious about what it's like to make a game, this is your chance to learn how to get involved! No prior experience required, just show up, help brainstorm, and then assist with whatever your abilities are. Could be programming, could be creating art, could be squeaking out funny voices or sound effects into a microphone, could be cutting out pieces for a board game, or could be just helping as a production assistant, facilitating everyone else's work. At the end of the weekend, games will either be created, or partially created, or at least thought about! No matter what, you're guaranteed to have fun, to make friends with similar interests, and to have a better understanding of the entire game production process. At this talk Elonka, a professional game developer and veteran of over a dozen game jams, will explain how the jams work, and how you might want to prepare, after which she will then be available for any questions you might have.

Turn your Tech Hobby into a Tech Paycheck or Getting a Job in the Game Industry

Elonka Dunin, 25-year veteran of the videogame industry, with decades of experience as hiring manager, gives tips on how to best tune your skills and resume to get the attention of recruiters in this exciting marketplace.

Agile 101

Just what is Agile Development? It's a relatively new set of methodologies taking the business world by storm, resulting in faster time-to-market, happier customers, more satisfied employees, and better prioritization of work by business value. Self-organized teams, self-empowered teams, continuous delivery, continous improvement... Sound too good to be true? It does take some substantial changes, in both business culture and employee mindset. In this talk Elonka, a certified Agile Coach, will give a brief overview of Agile, how it works, its pros and cons, and various toolsets used to implement it. Agile is not for everyone, but could it help your organization? This might be a quick way to find out!

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This page was last updated on July 3, 2018

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