Public Lecture: Cryptography, Number Theory, and Quantum Mechanics

Monday, September 17, 2018 - 5:00pm

Whitfield Diffie is best known for discovering the concept of public-key cryptography, which he developed with Martin E. Hellman at Stanford in the 1970s. Public-key cryptography underlies the security of internet commerce and all modern secure communication systems. He is Chief Scientist of Cryptic Labs, a new applied cryptography enterprise created to support blockchain technology and business applications of cryptography. Since 1993, much of Diffie’s attention has been focused on public policy, in the areas of cryptography, security, and privacy. He has testified several times before both the U.S. House and Senate committees. His position --- in opposition to limitations on the business and personal use of cryptography --- has been the subject of articles in the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Omni and Discover. Diffie’s work has also been portrayed on the Discovery Channel, Equinox TV, and the Japanese TV network NHK. Diffie is the recipient (jointly with Martin Hellman) of the ACM’s Alan M. Turing Award (the “Nerd Nobel”) for 2015.  He is a member of the Royal Society of London and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Diffie is the co-author with Dr. Susan Landau of the book “Privacy on the Line: The politics of wiretapping and encryption.”