Thales News Release

Thales And Cedars Combined School Support National Science & Engineering Week

April 9, 2009

Thales illustrates importance of encryption throughout history for children

Thales UK’s Long Crendon site and Cedars Combined School, Newport Pagnell are supporting National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW), a 10-day celebration of science, engineering and technology, as part of the drive to bring science to life for children in Newport Pagnell.

Thales engineers visited Cedars Combined School to explain encryption to a group of 7-8-year olds. The event focused on the role of encryption throughout history, from Ancient Rome, to the Second World War and through to today’s environment. The children were introduced to code breaking and ciphers in a project entitled ‘Ssshh – It’s a secret’, a role-playing activity to demonstrate how Caesar used encryption to secretly com­municate with his army to issue the order to attack Athens. The children were also shown an Enigma machine, courtesy of Bletchley Park, to demonstrate how encryption was used during the Second World War.

"Science is an important part of every child's education and Thales UK really brought the subject to life”, says Stephen Kelly, Headteacher at Cedars Combined School. “Through a fun and informative project Thales staff helped the children think imaginatively and logically about the task. The children loved the challenge of enacting a key part of ancient history and learning to create and decrypt codes. Seeing the Enigma machine was also an excellent experience for the children and the staff were very helpful in answering their many questions."

Explaining Thales UK's support for NSEW Ross Parsell, Managing Director of Thales UK’s information systems security activities, says: "The event was aimed at encouraging children to use their imagination. We are keen to promote the diversity and excitement of a career in technology. Since encryption and IT security is a growing industry in the UK, we hope one day to see some of these children working in the sector, bringing to the industry the inventiveness and enthusiasm they demonstrated today."

Thales UK is supporting NSEW across the country, with events happening at 10 of its sites, from Glasgow to Somerset. Victor Chavez, Deputy CEO, Thales UK, says: "Thales UK employs some 9,000 throughout all regions of the UK, with a high proportion of staff being involved in science, technology and engineering. The themes of technology and education are at the heart of what we do, which is why we are so enthusiastic about supporting National Science and Engineering Week. We believe very strongly that this type of activity is crucial in raising the profile of engineering in the minds of young people as an exciting career for their future."