The Wisdom of Foolishness

Recently I was named as one of Stanford University’s Engineering Heroes. With only 23 people inducted thus far, it was an honor to be includied with Hewlett, Packard and others of similar stature. As part of the induction process, I gave a talk on “The Wisdom of Foolishness” and, while it is more general than this blog, it provides a subtler way to introduce new people to the issue. If you’d like to watch it or suggest it to friends, it’s on Stanford’s YouTube channel.

If anyone tells you that you’re engaged in a fool’s errand by trying to reduce the risk of a nuclear disaster, this talk explains why you can take that as a compliment. Some of the most profound advances of recent decades were initially derided as foolish.

In the talk I also note that two out of the seven people inducted this year have made reducing the risk posed by nuclear weapons their life’s work – the other being former Secretary of Defense William Perry. Maybe that is telling us something!

Martin Hellman

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To learn more about Defusing the Nuclear Threat, visit my related web site. You might also look at my briefing paper on the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which lists eleven current-day nuclear risks and ways to reduce them.

About Martin Hellman

I am a professor at Stanford University, best known for my invention of public key cryptography -- the technology that protects the secure part of the Internet, such as electronic banking. But, since 1982, my primary interest has been how fallible human beings can survive possessing nuclear weapons, where even one mistake could be catastrophic. My latest project is a book, co-written with my wife Dorothie, with the audacious subtitle "Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet." It's on Amazon and a free PDF can be downloaded from its website:
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1 Response to The Wisdom of Foolishness

  1. Geoffrey Cook says:

    Sincerely,, Congratulations. Beyond the honor, you have the moral stature to have brought your great learning to the higher serving of mankind!

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