We're transported to a student lounge in the math department of one of America's top-tier universities. ALICE and BOB are engaging in an earnest discussion.
ALICE: "Okay, so if I apply the Euler-phi function to pq
, then I should get (p-1)(q-1)
BOB: "Blasphemy! You must evaluate the function with your heart, not with your mind! In order to truly understand, you must approach with the simplicity of a child."
ALICE: "Um, but children can't even multiply, let alone compute Euler-phi functions or try to solve the discrete logarithm problem."
BOB: "There you go again, using your intellect instead of your heart. You have let yourself become an adult, losing all sense of wonder in the world."
ALICE: "Many things still amaze me—RSA and ElGamal and NTRUSign and more—but I haven't devoted my life to appearing as a character in every major cryptography textbook in order to be more like a child."
BOB: "I'm not a child, I'm actually an elephant under a blanket!"ALICE rolls her eyes.TEN YEARS LATERALICE shakes N. M. J. WOODHOUSE's hand as she accepts the Clay Institute's million-dollar prize for having proven the Riemann Hypothesis. (Yes, Riemann was right.) Meanwhile, BOB sits in his office, watching the proceedings on his television. ALICE's smile is large enough to eat a baobab.