Leonard Adleman

Updated: 12/30/2019 by Computer Hope
Leonard Adleman

Name: Leonard Max Adleman

Born: December 31, 1945, in California, USA

Computer-related contributions

  • Widely called the Father of DNA Computing.
  • American theoretical computer scientist and professor of Computer Science and molecular biology at the University of Southern California.
  • Known for being a co-inventor of the RSA (Rivest–Shamir–Adleman) cryptosystem in 1977, and of DNA computing. RSA is in widespread use in security applications, including https.
  • Fred Cohen, in his 1984 paper "Experiments with Computer Viruses," has credited Adleman with coining the term "virus."

Significant publications

  • An Abstract Theory of Computer Viruses (1990).

Honors and awards

  • Elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006).
  • ACM Turing Award (2002).
  • Recipient of the Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award (1996).


"If you can programme events at a molecular level in cells, you can cure or kill cells which are sick or in trouble and leave the other ones intact. You cannot do this with electronics."

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