A Chat With One of The Creators of The Foundations of Cybersecurity: Len Adleman

I must admit, and I was star-struck to speak to the mighty Len Adleman — the “A” in RSA and a winner of the Turing Prize. For him to talk to our students, too, was such a privilege, especially as they had spent the last few weeks studying RSA for their test.

In the end, I just loved every second of his stories around his friendship with Ron Rivest and Adi Shamir, his love of maths, computing and biology, and his thoughts on the evolution of the RSA method. It was just sheer gold for me, especially as I have spent the last decade or so studying — and loving — cryptography. And as others might look to Einsten, Maxwell or Newton for the history of their discipline, I look to people like Len.

What I love about him, is his openness and honesty in everything he achieved. I particularly like the comment about him not being a particularly good CEO of RSA, and that it really requires a certain type of person. I completely echo this, and we have always been lucky to get great CEOs for our spin-out companies:

Professor of Cryptography. Serial innovator. Believer in fairness, justice & freedom. EU Citizen. Auld Reekie native. Old World Breaker. New World Creator.

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