Martin Edward Hellman (born October 2, 1945) is a cryptologist, famous for
his invention of public key cryptography in cooperation with Whitfield
Diffie and Ralph Merkle.
Martin and Whitfield Diffie's paper New Directions in Cryptography was
published in 1976. It introduced a radically new method of
distributing cryptographic keys, which went far toward solving one of
the fundamental problems of cryptography, key distribution. It has
become known as Diffie-Hellman key exchange. The article also seems to
have stimulated the almost immediate public development of a new class
of encryption algorithms, the asymmetric key algorithms.
Hellman graduated from the Bronx High School of Science. He went on to
earn his Bachelor's degree from New York University in 1966, and at
Stanford University he earned a Master's degree in 1967 and a Ph.D. in
1969, all in electrical engineering.
From 1968–1969 he worked at IBM's Watson Research Center where he
encountered Horst Feistel. From 1969–1971 he was an assistant
professor at MIT. He joined Stanford in 1971 as a professor, serving
until 1996 when he became Professor Emeritus.
Martin and Whitfield Diffie were awarded the Marconi Fellowship and
accompanying prize in 2000 for work on public-key cryptography and for
helping make cryptography a legitimate area of academic research.