Abstract / Synopsis
In this paper I describe an activity based on a 1903 Sherlock Holmes murder mystery, in which a substitution cipher is used to encrypt secret messages. The story provides a fun and interesting way to talk about frequency analysis, and can be used as a segue into mathematical constructs such as modular arithmetic and computation. The activity is accessible to ages twelve and above, and has been successfully used in mathematics outreach and popularization efforts as well as in general education and mathematics courses.
Kaur, M. "The Mystery of the Dancing Men," Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Volume 11 Issue 2 (July 2021), pages 417-429. DOI: 10.5642/jhummath.202102.25 . Available at: https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol11/iss2/25