Two University of Southern California professors with joint
appointments in the Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC College —
Leonard M. Adleman and Robert Willis Hellwarth — have been elected to
the nation’s top scientific and arts academies for their research
accomplishments and contributions to society at large.
Adleman, a professor of computer science and molecular biology, has
been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). He is
known for his work in public cryptography and for creating the field of
In addition to NAS, he and Hellwarth, a professor of electrical
engineering-systems and physics, have been named to the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). Hellwarth has made major
contributions to the understanding of quantum electronics and the
invention of new laser devices.
“Professors Adleman and Hellwarth’s contributions to science and
technology, and to society, have been nothing short of remarkable,”
said Yannis C. Yortsos, dean of the Viterbi School. “It is very
gratifying that these two prestigious academies have recognized their
outstanding interdisciplinary work, which straddles electrical
engineering, computer science, physics, and molecular biology.”
Election to the National Academy of Sciences is considered one of the
highest honors in American science and engineering. Membership in
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is broad-based, consisting of
scholars and practitioners from mathematics, physics, biological
sciences, humanities and the arts, public affairs and business, which
gives the Academy a unique capacity to conduct a wide range of
interdisciplinary studies and public policy research.
"Throughout its history, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has
convened the leading thinkers of the day, from diverse perspectives, to
participate in projects and studies that advance the public good,"
added Academy CEO Leslie Berlowitz. "I am confident that this
distinguished class of new Fellows will continue that tradition of
cherishing knowledge and shaping the future."
Adleman is a USC Distinguished Professor and the Henry Salvatori
Professor of Computer Science. He is also a professor of
molecular biology in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and
a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
In 1977, with Ronald L. Rivest and Adi Shamir, he co-developed an
algorithm known as the RSA Code for the initials of the three
researchers. The RSA Code became the foundation for an entire
generation of technology security products, and Adleman and his
collaborators later received the A. M. Turing Prize, sometimes called
the Nobel Prize of computing.
In a 1994 paper, Adleman demonstrated that DNA molecules could act as a
computer and he used it to solve a simple problem, creating the new field of
molecular computing. Eight years later, he demonstrated how to
use DNA computing to solve complex problems.
"Len Adleman’s election to the National Academy represents a special
achievement, because it shows how much those most familiar with his
scientific contributions -- his peers -- value his work," said Joseph
Aoun, dean of USC College. "These two honors bring well-deserved
recognition of all that Len has achieved, including his pioneering
discoveries in cryptography and prime number theory and, for more than
a decade, his work on the fascinating frontier between information
theory and molecular sciences."
Hellwarth is a USC University Professor who has joint appointments in
the Viterbi School’s Department of Electrical
Engineering-Electrophysics, where he holds the George T. Pfleger Chair,
and in the USC College Department of Physics.
He has received the L. A. Hyland Patent Award, the Charles Hard Townes
Award, given by the Optical Society of America, and IEEE’s Quantum
Electronics Award. In addition to AAAS, he has been elected to both the National
Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Sciences
"Robert Hellwarth remains one of the best examples of scholars
committed to both advancing fundamental research and the development of
those discoveries into useful applications," Aoun said. "We salute his
most recent honor."
With their recent elections as Fellows of the AAAS, Hellwarth and
Adleman join Viterbi School colleagues Solomon Golomb and Andrew Viterbi as
the only other faculty members at USC with simultaneous memberships in
NAE, NAS and AAAS.
Adleman is among 72 new members of the National Academy of
Sciences. He and Hellwarth join 195 scholars, scientists,
artists, civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders elected to the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences this year. AAAS recipients
come from 24 states and 13 countries, and represent more than 60
universities, a dozen corporations, museums, research institutes, media
outlets and foundations. The 2006 AAAS Fellows also include former
presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences will welcome its new class at
the annual AAAS induction ceremony, to be held Oct. 7 at the Academy's
headquarters in Cambridge, MA. The NAS has not yet announced a
date for its induction ceremony.