25366 Mike Shewfelt sat down this week with Dr. David Wehlau, Professor in RMCC’s Math & Computer Science Department. Dr. Wehlau is the winner of the 2012 Cowan Prize for Excellence in Research, and will be giving a lecture entitled “Quantum Cryptography: An Unbreakable Cipher” this Thursday, October 18, at 1900 hrs in Currie Hall.
Dr. David Wehlau: I was an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto and looking for a permanent position. I visited RMCC and really liked the campus and liked Kingston. Since a good friend and collaborator of mine was a member of the Queen’s math department, RMCC seemed perfect.
e-Veritas: What have been the highlights of your time at the College, both the good and the bad…?
Dr. David Wehlau: Three highlights come to mind. First of all, I used to coach the RMCC badminton team and I always enjoyed that. It was great to interact with Cadets outside the classroom. Coaching the team to finishing 9th in the country in 1999 was exciting and a great deal of fun.
Winning the John Scott Cowan Prize for Research Excellence is a highlight of course.
Finally, I am also very proud of the fact that I won the Class of 1965 Teaching Excellence Award in 2002.
e-Veritas: What do you like about working with the Cadets…?
Dr. David Wehlau: One thing I particularly like about teaching Cadets is that everyone in the class knows everyone else. This makes Cadets much more willing than other students to speak out and ask questions.
In general, I find that the Cadets are very supportive of each other and that makes teaching easier too.
e-Veritas: How / Why you did you develop an interest in doing research in the field of Quantum Cryptology…?
Dr. David Wehlau: I fell into doing research in cryptography rather by accident. I got involved in it in 2000 when I was approached by a company from Calgary, Non-Elephant Encryption, which asked me to consult on improving their encryption system. Since then, graduate students see that I have written some papers on cryptography and approach me to supervise them. So I keep getting drawn back into studying it.
The majority of my research is in two other fields of mathematics: Invariant Theory and Discrete Mathematics. Invariant Theory is a branch of algebra concerned with studying symmetry and quantities that are preserved under symmetries. Most of my work on Discrete Mathematics concerns graph theory and so-called finite geometries.