The Wisdom of Foolishness: Taking on Nuclear Deterrence, Martin Hellman

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Presented on April 9, 2013 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm.

When I first started working in cryptography in the early 1970's, almost all of my colleagues told me I was crazy because NSA had a huge head start and, if I did anything good, they would classify it. Those arguments had validity, but with hindsight, it was very wise to take on that "fool's errand." This talk proposes that "tilting at windmills" might be applied to taking on the problems associated with nuclear deterrence.

Martin E. Hellman is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. His effort to "Defuse the Nuclear Threat," (see includes applying quantitative risk analysis to a potential failure of nuclear deterrence. Dr. Hellman was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for co-inventing public key cryptography, a technology which secures literally trillions of dollars in financial transactions every day. His honors include election to the National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the IEEE, Marconi International Fellow, the IEEE Hamming Medal, and being named one of only 23 Stanford Engineering Heroes thus far. 

Co-sponsored by: Daisy Alliance, Georgia Tech's Sam Nunn School of International Affairs (INTA), the Center for International Strategy,Technology, and Policy (CISTP), Nuclear & Radiological Engineering Program (NRE), and the General Ray Davis Memorial Fund.


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