Martin Hellman Speaks at Meeting of Nobel Laureates

image of professor emeritus Hellman. Photo Credit: Michael Steven Walker
July 2019

Martin E. Hellman was the Heidelberg Lecturer at the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (#LINO19). The annual, week-long event occurs each summer on Germany's Lindau Island. Nobel Laureates are invited to the meeting, along with select young scientists. The Heidelberg Lecture is given by one of the Heidelberg Laureates, the winners of the top prizes in mathematics and computer science. Professor Hellman became a Heidelberg Laureate when he received the ACM Turing Award in 2015 for joint work with Whitfield Diffie, for making critical contributions to modern cryptography.

Martin's lecture, "The Technological Imperative for Ethical Evolution" called for scientists and laureates to accelerate the trend toward more ethical behavior. Hellman drew parallels between global and personal relationships as a foundation to build trust and security – regardless of past adversarial history. He shared 8 lessons from his own personal and professional evolution.

Martin encouraged #LINO19 attendees to revisit the Mainau Declaration of 1955 and the Mainau Declaration of 2015, thereby underscoring the efforts of prior attendees – and the responsibilities of today's attendees – to consider global and future consequences when making decisions and to appeal to decision-makers to do the same.

Hellman's Heidelberg Lecture is available online.

The 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting hosted 39 laureates and 600 young scientists from 89 countries–the highest number to date. This year's meeting was dedicated to physics. The key topics were dark matter and cosmology, laser physics and gravitational waves.


Martin E. Hellman is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University and is affiliated with the university's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). His recent technical work has focused on rethinking national security, including bringing a risk informed framework to a potential failure of nuclear deterrence and then using that approach to find surprising ways to reduce the risk. His earlier work included co-inventing public key cryptography, the technology that underlies the secure portion of the Internet. His many honors include election to the National Academy of Engineering and receiving (jointly with his colleague Whit Diffie) the million dollar ACM Turing Award, the top prize in computer science. One of his recent projects is a book, jointly written with his wife of fifty years, "A New Map for Relationships: Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet," that one reviewer said provides a "unified field theory" of peace by illuminating the connections between nuclear war, conventional war, interpersonal war, and war within our own psyches.

image of Martin Hellman, Heidelberg Lecture, Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting 2019

Martin Hellman speaking at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. Photo credit: Julia Nimke/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings