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Professor R F Churchhouse
Bob Churchhouse joined the Atlas Computer laboratory in 1962 from GCHQ. He was the first Head of Programming and was in charge for most of the life of the Atlas I leaving in 1971 to take up a new Chair at the University of Cardiff. He had a wide interest in computing but his own specialism was Number Theory. Several of the Atlas Fellows shared that interest (Oliver Atkin, Jack Good and Fred Lunnon). Some Atlas staff moved with him to Cardiff including John Baldwin and Fred Lunnon.
Some of the papers that he produced while at the Laboratory were:
- A Computer for all Purposes
- Report of a Visit to the USA: 1965
- The Use of Atlas in the Discovery of a Theorem in the Theory of Numbers
- A New Conjecture Related to the Riemann Hypothesis
- A New Theorem in the Additive Theory of Numbers
In 2002, he published Cods and Ciphers: Julius Caesar, the Enigma and the internet (Cambridge University Press).
Bob Churchhouse studied at Manchester University, being taught by both Max Newman and Alan Turing. After university, he worked at GCHQ working on ciphers. It was there that he discovered that most of his colleagues had served during World War II at Station X at Bletchley Park.
During the 1980s, teaching a course on data security to third year undergraduates at Cardiff, he was able to call in a favour from his old employers at GCHQ, and borrow an Enigma machine to show the students. The workings of the machine was sometimes set as an exam question although, perhaps considerately, Professor Churchhouse never asked his students to crack the code.