Neal Koblitz

Neal I. Koblitz (born December 24, 1948[1]) is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Washington. He is also an adjunct professor with the Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research at the University of Waterloo. He is the creator of hyperelliptic curve cryptography and the independent co-creator of elliptic curve cryptography.

Neal Koblitz
Born (1948-12-24) December 24, 1948
NationalityUnited States
Alma materPrinceton University
Harvard University
Known forElliptic and hyperelliptic curve cryptography
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Washington
University of Waterloo
Doctoral advisorNick Katz
Doctoral studentsDaqing Wan


Koblitz received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1969.[1] While at Harvard, he was a Putnam Fellow in 1968. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1974 under the direction of Nick Katz. From 1975 to 1979 he was an instructor at Harvard University.[2] In 1979 he began working at the University of Washington.

Koblitz's 1981 article "Mathematics as Propaganda"[3] criticized the misuse of mathematics in the social sciences and helped motivate Serge Lang's successful challenge to the nomination of political scientist Samuel P. Huntington to the National Academy of Sciences.[4] In The Mathematical Intelligencer, Koblitz,[5][6][7] Steven Weintraub,[8] and Saunders Mac Lane later criticized the arguments of Herbert A. Simon, who had attempted to defend Huntington's work.[9]

With his wife Ann Hibner Koblitz, he in 1985 founded the Kovalevskaia Prize, to honour women scientists in developing countries. It was financed from the royalties of Ann Hibner Koblitz's 1983 biography of Sofia Kovalevskaia.[10] Although the awardees have ranged over many fields of science, one of the 2011 winners was a Vietnamese mathematician, Lê Thị Thanh Nhàn.[11] Koblitz is an atheist.[12]

See also

Selected publications

  • p-adic Numbers, p-adic Analysis, and Zeta-Functions, Graduate Texts in Mathematics No. 58, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1977. Second edition, 1984.
  • p-adic Analysis: A Short Course on Recent Work, London Mathematical Society Lecture Note Series No. 46, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1980.
  • Introduction to Elliptic Curves and Modular Forms, Graduate Texts in Math. No. 97, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1984. Second edition, 1993.
  • A Course in Number Theory and Cryptography, Graduate Texts in Math. No. 114, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1987. Second edition, 1994.
  • Algebraic Aspects of Cryptography, Algorithms and Computation in Mathematics Vol. 3, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1998.
  • Random Curves: Journeys of a Mathematician, his autobiography. Springer-Verlag, 2007.


  1. Engquist, Björn; Schmid, Wilfried, eds. (2001), Mathematics Unlimited: 2001 and Beyond, Berlin: Springer, p. 1225, ISBN 978-3-540-66913-5
  2. Koblitz, Neal (2007), Random Curves: Journeys of a Mathematician, Springer-Verlag, p. 123
  3. Koblitz, Neal (1981), "Mathematics as Propaganda", in Steen, Lynn Arthur (ed.), Mathematics Tomorrow, Springer Verlag, pp. 111–120, doi:10.1007/978-1-4613-8127-3_12, ISBN 0-387-90564-2
  4. Krantz, Steven George (2005), Mathematical apocrypha redux, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-88385-554-2
  5. Koblitz, Neal (Winter 1988), "A Tale of Three Equations; or The Emperors Have No Clothes", The Mathematical Intelligencer, New York, NY, 10 (1): 4–10, doi:10.1007/BF03023843
  6. Koblitz, Neal (Winter 1988), "Reply to Unclad Emperors", The Mathematical Intelligencer, New York, NY, 10 (1): 14–16, doi:10.1007/BF03023845
  7. Koblitz, Neal (Spring 1988), "Simon Falls off the Wall", The Mathematical Intelligencer, New York, NY, 10 (2): 11–12, doi:10.1007/bf03028350
  8. Weintraub, Steven H. (Summer 1988), "Trivial Pseudomathematics", The Mathematical Intelligencer, New York, NY, 10 (3): 3–4, doi:10.1007/bf03026633
  9. Brown, James Robert (1999), Philosophy of mathematics, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-12275-9
  10. Hickey, Hannah (2007-11-08), Neal Koblitz: Deciphering the cryptographer, University Week
  11. Nguyen, Ha (March 13, 2012), "Women make their mark in sciences", Việt Nam News.
  12. Koblitz, Neal. Random Curves: Journeys of a Mathematician. Berlin: Springer Verlag, 2008. Print. "For me, an atheist and an aspiring mathematician..."
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