The Geek Atlas: terrific tech shrines that every geek should see

This new book outlines the best places in the world for nerds and geeks to visit before they die. We selected some favorite places, including the HP Garage, the MIT Museum, and da Vinci's last home.

Bletchley Park, Bletchley, England

Draw a straight line between the British universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and halfway between the two you'll find the grand house at Bletchley Park.

This is the spot where the brightest code-breaking minds in the country gathered to work during World War II. Those who labored at Bletchley were recruited for their skill at mathematics, crossword puzzles, bridge, and languages.

They labored in total secrecy, and at the end of the war authorities hid and destroyed their work to prevent discovery. It was not until the 1970s that the secret work of Bletchley Park was revealed and its role in the Allied triumph in the Second World War was understood, including the group's success in breaking the code used for almost all Nazi communications, the Enigma.

After the group broke the code, everything--from missives sent by Nazi infantry units to the most secret messages transmitted between Adolf Hitler and his high command--was readable.

The Enigma Cipher Machine is on display with other decoding equipment, as well as technology related to predigital computing, pocket calculators, personal computers, air-traffic systems, and the beginnings of the electronic office with massive mainframe computers.

The aim of the displays is to show working machines and to explain their significance.

Photo courtesy of the National Education Network.

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