Monday, April 05, 2010


The well engraved fellow above is one Blaise de Vigenere born this day 1523, in Saint-Pourcain, France. He is known as the father of the Vigenere cipher, a cipher that I employed on this blog once or twice a while back. It seems that it was attributed to him by accident, the cipher that bears his name was actually conceived of by a fellow named Giovan Bellaso, and it is the cipher that bears Vigenere's name. It seems that Vigenere did in fact come up with his own cipher, and by all accounts, it is a stronger, harder to break, cipher. One historian has even stated that the misnaming "(ignored this important contribution and instead named a regressive and elementary cipher for him [Vigenère] though he had nothing to do with it." Seems fairly ironic that a fellow who invents something to hide things, gets his cipher so well hidden that he gets credit for something that he did not do. He spent 3o years in the diplomatic service of France, and upon his retirement left 1,000 livres a year for the benefit of the poor, a pretty tidy sum back in those days. So, for that generosity, and for creating a really hard to break cipher for all of us secret agents to use, Blaise de Vignere (April 5th, 1523- sometime in 1596, at around 73), you are my (224th) hero of the day.

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