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?

These questions (and their remarkable answers) are in the realm of modern cryptography. In this talk you will learn some of the mathematical and computational ideas, definitions and assumptions which underlie privacy and security of the Internet and electronic commerce, and see how they lead to solutions of the questions above and many others.

When: Monday 17 October 2022, 6.00 - 7.30 pm

Where: Edmund Burke lecture theatre, Trinity College Dublin

Speaker / 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”.

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Hamilton day 2022: Celebrating Ireland's greatest mathematician

On this episode of Ibec Voices, we are joined by Ibec CEO Danny McCoy and Dr Mary Canning, Royal Irish Academy President, to discuss upcoming Hamilton Day celebrations and the fascinating story of William Rowan Hamilton. Later on in the episode Danny will speak to Professor Avi Wigderson, Herbert H. Maass Professor of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton University, who will deliver the 2022 RIA Hamilton Lecture on ‘Cryptography: Secrets and Lies, Knowledge and Trust’.

Who was Hamilton?

William Rowan Hamilton was born in 1805 in Dublin and is universally recognised as the greatest mathematician, and arguably the greatest scientist, that Ireland has produced to date.

Ireland’s scientific and mathematic tradition underpins our economy. Over the last 50 years, it has transformed to become dynamic, innovative, high-tech and has digital at its core. 

As this transformation continues at pace, so too will the need for people to have advanced digital and numerical literacy skills.

Ibec is delighted to partner with the Royal Irish Academy on Hamilton Day to promote the lasting legacy of an Irish man who made a seminal contribution to the world around us today.

Eureka moment at Broome Bridge

On 16 October 1843, William Hamilton and his wife Helen were walking along the banks of the Royal Canal from Dunsink Observatory to the Royal Irish Academy where he was President.

At Broome Bridge Hamilton had that very rare occurrence in science, a Eureka moment. He suddenly hit on the solution to a problem he had been working on for a long time and in his excitement, he took out his penknife and scratched his formula for Quaternion algebra onto the bridge: i² = j² = k² = ijk = −1

Quaternions can be found in simple everyday objects, from the rotation of your mobile phone’s screen to Quantum mechanics, computer gaming animation, CGI in movies and were instrumental in putting the first man on the moon.

Hamilton's legacy

Ireland’s scientific and mathematic tradition underpins our economy. Over the last 50 years, it has transformed to become dynamic, innovative, high-tech and has digital at its core.

As this transformation continues at pace, so too will the need for people to have advanced digital and numerical literacy skills. Ibec is committed to promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) education to encourage people to consider STEM related careers but also because we recognise STEM’s key role in safeguarding Ireland’s economic future.

Hamilton Day

Though Hamilton Day falls on the 16th October, the day in 1843 when Hamilton discovered quaternion algebra, celebrations to mark the event this year will take place on Monday 17th October.

The day involves a Hamilton Prize Ceremony to recognise the most gifted third-level mathematics students in Ireland.  Ibec is delighted to have partnered with the Royal Irish Academy to celebrate this important day.