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One of the Greatest Intellectual Feats of World War II

Newmarket's Best Kept Secrets

The Memorial, by acclaimed sculptor Harry Gray, is located where Palace Street meets the High Street. It commemorates the eminent mathematician Professor W.T. Tutte, who was born in Newmarket in 1917.

In 1941 at Bletchley Park, Bill Tutte succeeded in breaking the extremely complex Lorenz code – without ever seeing the machine that generated it. This was described as “one of the greatest intellectual feats of World War II” – yet when Tutte died in 2002, he was all but unknown. Local residents, businesses and councils worked to ensure that Tutte was publicly honoured in the town of his birth, and the Memorial was unveiled on 10th September 2014.

The Memorial consists of six 2-metre brushed stainless steel panels, pierced to resemble the punched paper tape used to transmit Lorenz messages. Tutte’s features appear in the pattern of holes when viewed from one particular direction, marked on the pavement by a ‘squared square’ (a mathematical puzzle that inspired Tutte as a student at Cambridge University). On the ground before the panels is a 41-toothed wheel, recalling the breakthrough in discovering the structure of the Lorenz machine.

An information board gives further details of Tutte’s achievements, including his later career as a distinguished mathematician in Canada, and instructions to decode the eight ‘punched paper’ bollards around the Memorial.

For more information, or to support the Bill Tutte Scholarship, please visit www.billtuttememorial.org.uk.

 Bill Tutte Memorial Image © John Berry, 2014)

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