Martin E. Hellman
Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering

Martin E. Hellman was born in New York, NY in October 1945. He received his B.E. from New York University in 1966, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1967 and 1969, all in Electrical Engineering.

Prof. Hellman was at IBM's Watson Research Center from 1968-69 and an Assistant Professor of EE at MIT from 1969-71. Returning to Stanford in 1971, he served on the regular faculty until becoming Professor Emeritus in 1996. He has authored over seventy technical papers (click for publication list), ten US patents and a number of foreign equivalents.

Hellman is best known for his invention, with Diffie and Merkle, of public key cryptography. In addition to many other uses, this technology forms the basis for secure transactions on the Internet. He has also been a long-time contributor to the computer security debate, starting with the issue of DES's key size in 1975, serving (1994-96) on the National Research Council's Committee to Study National Cryptographic Policy, and currently serving on Verified Voting's Board of Advisors.

More detailed information is available on his honors and awards, his university service, and his professional and civic service.

Prof. Hellman also has a deep interest in the ethics of technological development. With Prof. Anatoly Gromyko of Moscow, he co-edited Breakthrough: Emerging New Thinking, a book published simultaneously in Russian and English in 1987 during the rapid change in Soviet-American relations. His current project in this area, Defusing the Nuclear Threat, has been endorsed by a number of prominent individuals including a former Director of the National Security Agency, Stanford's President Emeritus, and two Nobel Laureates.

He also worked to develop an environment within the university within which students of diverse backgrounds could function to the best of their ability. This work was recognized by four teaching awards, including three from minority student organizations.

Hellman has been involved with a number of high-tech startups, serving variously as a founder, advisor, and investor. In his spare time, he enjoys people, soaring, speed skating and hiking.

Students interested in meeting with him should contact Katt Clark. Urgent matters can be sent by email to martydevoe followed by the AT symbol, then gmail DOTCOM.



Courses (with links to download handouts)

Cryptography, Work on

Current Project: Defusing the Nuclear Threat

Diversity, Work on

Honors and Awards

Mathematical Playground: an effort to make surprising mathematical results that are usually taught at an advanced university level accessible to motivated high school students.

Memorial to Robert Hellman, June 29, 1908 - March 15, 2007


Publications (most with PDF links)

Stanford Engineering Hero Lecture Suggested Reading

War and Peace, Past Work