Industry News: London-Based Forensic Outreach Teams Up with FBI Codebreaker to Track Down Future Scientists

18 Mar 2014


London-based Forensic Outreach, an online platform that focuses on public engagement in security and crime science, has collaborated with an FBI cryptanalyst and leading science education provider Ward's Science to create a unique code-breaking competition that aims to inspire students worldwide to learn more about cryptology and forensic science.

Mission: Decipher - An International Forensic Science & Codebreaking Competition for Secondary School Students, will run globally for six weeks for school pupils aged between 11 and 18.

London-based Forensic Outreach launched in 2001 and has since partnered with over 100 academic institutes to create and provide pupils and adults with the codebreaking, security and crime science workshops designed to inspire the next generation.

FBI codebreaker Deenen Hernandez has helped shape the competition with Shivani Lamba, CEO of Forensic Outreach. Through this initiative, they hope to get as many pupils as possible interested in cryptology and forensic science.

At 15, Forensic Outreach's CEO, Shivani Lamba, entered a cryptology project in a qualifying round for the Intel Science and Engineering Fair and was awarded a tour of CIA HQ. Codebreaking has always fascinated Shivani, and she joined Forensic Outreach whilst an undergraduate at University College London as a means to fund her degree during a period of financial hardship. In 2009, Shivani took over the company and spearheaded the organization's shift to delivering public engagement campaigns online.

Shivani Lamba, CEO at Forensic Outreach, explains: "Codebreaking has always captured the public's imagination -- it certainly has a place in mine. This competition also comes at an opportune moment -- when there's an increased awareness of the work at Bletchley Park and the fascinating life of Alan Turing. I'm delighted to be working with Ward's Science and FBI cryptanalyst Deneen Hernandez to inspire a new generation of scientists."

Deneen Hernandez, FBI cryptanalyst, said: "This competition is a fantastic way to engage students in the areas of codebreaking and forensic science -- and help them get their feet wet. My law enforcement background and training as an examiner allowed me to provide students with challenges that are perhaps rarely seen in the typical science classroom. In reality, cryptanalysis is often an unexplored area in forensic science -- and I'm confident that this competition will bring these concepts a little closer to a new generation of scientists."

A spokesperson from Ward's Science said: "Ward's Science has been dedicated to helping science teachers inspire students for over 150 years. We are thrilled to work with leading curriculum developer in the United Kingdom and Europe--Forensic Outreach as both of our companies have similar missions and share the same passion for science education. We hope the competition inspires students to continue their interest in forensics well after the competition finishes and go on to pursue careers in science and technology."