The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

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Hamilton Day Lecture 2022


Wednesday, March 1, 2023, 18:00 - 19:30




Free, booking essential

We are delighted to announce that our 2022 Annual Hamilton lecture that was postponed will now take place online on Wednesday, 1 March 2023.

Professor Avi Wigderson, Institute for Advanced Study will deliver the 2022 RIA Hamilton Lecture on Cryptography: Secrets and Lies, Knowledge and Trust

What protects your computer password when you log on, or your credit card number when you shop on-line, from hackers listening on the communication lines? Can two people who never met create a secret language in the presence of others, which no one but them can understand? Is it possible for a group of people to play a (card-less) game of Poker on the telephone, without anyone being able to cheat? Can you convince others that you can solve a tough math puzzle, without giving them the slightest hint of your solution?

These questions (and their remarkable answers) are in the realm of modern cryptography. In this talk I plan to survey some of the mathematical and computational ideas, definitions and assumptions which underlie privacy and security of the Internet and electronic commerce. We shall see how these lead to solutions of the questions above and many others. I will also discuss the fragility of the current foundations of modern cryptography, and the need for stronger ones.

No special background knowledge will be assumed.

If you would like to participate in a more personal 'In conversation' event with Avi Wigderson and Dr Rachel Quinlan at 14:00-14:30 on Wednesday, 1 March, you can register here

About Professor Wigderson

Professor Avi Wigderson is the Herbert H. Maass Professor of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton University. His research interests include complexity theory, parallel algorithms, graph theory, cryptography, distributed computing, and neural networks. He has received numerous prizes including the Knuth Prize 2019, Gödel Prize in 2009, Nevanlinna Prize in 1994 and in 2021, Wigderson shared the Abel Prize with László Lovász “for their foundational contributions to theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics, and their leading role in shaping them into central fields of modern mathematics”.


The Royal Irish Academy Hamilton Day activities are kindly supported by Ibec. Media Partner The Irish Times.

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