Leonard Susskind

Leonard Susskind

Overview
Leonard Susskind is the Felix Bloch
Felix Bloch
Felix Bloch was a Swiss physicist, working mainly in the U.S.-Life and work:Bloch was born in Zürich, Switzerland to Jewish parents Gustav and Agnes Bloch. He was educated there and at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, also in Zürich. Initially studying engineering he soon changed to physics...

 Professor of Theoretical Physics
Theoretical physics
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics which employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena...

 at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

. His research interests include string theory
String theory
String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything , a manner of describing the known fundamental forces and matter in a mathematically complete system...

, quantum field theory
Quantum field theory
Quantum field theory provides a theoretical framework for constructing quantum mechanical models of systems classically parametrized by an infinite number of dynamical degrees of freedom, that is, fields and many-body systems. It is the natural and quantitative language of particle physics and...

, quantum statistical mechanics
Quantum statistical mechanics
Quantum statistical mechanics is the study of statistical ensembles of quantum mechanical systems. A statistical ensemble is described by a density operator S, which is a non-negative, self-adjoint, trace-class operator of trace 1 on the Hilbert space H describing the quantum system. This can be...

 and quantum cosmology
Quantum cosmology
In theoretical physics, quantum cosmology is a field attempting to study the effect of quantum mechanics on the formation of the universe, or its early evolution, especially just after the Big Bang...

. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

, an associate member of the faculty of Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is an independent, resident-based research institute devoted to foundational issues in theoretical physics located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Perimeter Institute was founded in 1999 by Mike Lazaridis...

, and a distinguished professor of the Korea Institute for Advanced Study
Korea Institute for Advanced Study
The Korea Institute for Advanced Study is an advanced research institute in Korea. It is located on a campus at 207-43 Cheongnyangni 2-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea....

. Susskind is widely regarded as one of the fathers of string theory
String theory
String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything , a manner of describing the known fundamental forces and matter in a mathematically complete system...

, having, with Yoichiro Nambu
Yoichiro Nambu
is a Japanese-born American physicist, currently a professor at the University of Chicago. Known for his contributions to the field of theoretical physics, he was awarded a one-half share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2008 for the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in...

 and Holger Bech Nielsen
Holger Bech Nielsen
Holger Bech Nielsen is a Danish theoretical physicist, professor at the Niels Bohr Institute, at the University of Copenhagen, where he started studying physics in 1961....

, independently introduced the idea that particles could in fact be states of excitation of a relativistic string.
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Encyclopedia
Leonard Susskind is the Felix Bloch
Felix Bloch
Felix Bloch was a Swiss physicist, working mainly in the U.S.-Life and work:Bloch was born in Zürich, Switzerland to Jewish parents Gustav and Agnes Bloch. He was educated there and at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, also in Zürich. Initially studying engineering he soon changed to physics...

 Professor of Theoretical Physics
Theoretical physics
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics which employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena...

 at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

. His research interests include string theory
String theory
String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything , a manner of describing the known fundamental forces and matter in a mathematically complete system...

, quantum field theory
Quantum field theory
Quantum field theory provides a theoretical framework for constructing quantum mechanical models of systems classically parametrized by an infinite number of dynamical degrees of freedom, that is, fields and many-body systems. It is the natural and quantitative language of particle physics and...

, quantum statistical mechanics
Quantum statistical mechanics
Quantum statistical mechanics is the study of statistical ensembles of quantum mechanical systems. A statistical ensemble is described by a density operator S, which is a non-negative, self-adjoint, trace-class operator of trace 1 on the Hilbert space H describing the quantum system. This can be...

 and quantum cosmology
Quantum cosmology
In theoretical physics, quantum cosmology is a field attempting to study the effect of quantum mechanics on the formation of the universe, or its early evolution, especially just after the Big Bang...

. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

, an associate member of the faculty of Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is an independent, resident-based research institute devoted to foundational issues in theoretical physics located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Perimeter Institute was founded in 1999 by Mike Lazaridis...

, and a distinguished professor of the Korea Institute for Advanced Study
Korea Institute for Advanced Study
The Korea Institute for Advanced Study is an advanced research institute in Korea. It is located on a campus at 207-43 Cheongnyangni 2-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea....

. Susskind is widely regarded as one of the fathers of string theory
String theory
String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything , a manner of describing the known fundamental forces and matter in a mathematically complete system...

, having, with Yoichiro Nambu
Yoichiro Nambu
is a Japanese-born American physicist, currently a professor at the University of Chicago. Known for his contributions to the field of theoretical physics, he was awarded a one-half share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2008 for the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in...

 and Holger Bech Nielsen
Holger Bech Nielsen
Holger Bech Nielsen is a Danish theoretical physicist, professor at the Niels Bohr Institute, at the University of Copenhagen, where he started studying physics in 1961....

, independently introduced the idea that particles could in fact be states of excitation of a relativistic string. He was the first to introduce the idea of the string theory landscape
String theory landscape
The string theory landscape or anthropic landscape refers to the large number of possible false vacua in string theory. The "landscape" includes so many possible configurations that some physicists think that the known laws of physics, the standard model and general relativity with a positive...

 in 2003. In 1997, Susskind was awarded the J.J. Sakurai Prize
Sakurai Prize
The J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics, is presented by the American Physical Society at its annual "April Meeting", and honors outstanding achievement in particle physics theory...

 for his "pioneering contributions to hadronic string models, lattice gauge theories
Lattice gauge theory
In physics, lattice gauge theory is the study of gauge theories on a spacetime that has been discretized into a lattice. Gauge theories are important in particle physics, and include the prevailing theories of elementary particles: quantum electrodynamics, quantum chromodynamics and the Standard...

, quantum chromodynamics
Quantum chromodynamics
In theoretical physics, quantum chromodynamics is a theory of the strong interaction , a fundamental force describing the interactions of the quarks and gluons making up hadrons . It is the study of the SU Yang–Mills theory of color-charged fermions...

, and dynamical symmetry breaking." Susskind's hallmark, according to colleagues, has been the application of "brilliant imagination and originality to the theoretical study of the nature of the elementary particles and forces that make up the physical world."

Early life and education


Susskind was born to a poor Jewish family from the South Bronx
South Bronx
The South Bronx is an area of the New York City borough of The Bronx. The neighborhoods of Tremont, University Heights, Highbridge, Morrisania, Soundview, Hunts Point, and Castle Hill are sometimes considered part of the South Bronx....

 section of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, and now resides in Palo Alto, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. He began working as a plumber
Plumber
A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable water, sewage, and drainage in plumbing systems. The term dates from ancient times, and is related to the Latin word for lead, "plumbum." A person engaged in fixing metaphorical "leaks" may also be...

 at the age of 16, taking over for his father who had become ill. Later, he enrolled in the City College of New York
City College of New York
The City College of the City University of New York is a senior college of the City University of New York , in New York City. It is also the oldest of the City University's twenty-three institutions of higher learning...

 as an engineering student, graduating with a B.S.
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 in physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 in 1962. In an interview in the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

, Susskind recalls the moment he discussed with his father this change in career path: "When I told my father I wanted to be a physicist, he said, ‘Hell no, you ain’t going to work in a drug store.’ I said no, not a pharmacist
Pharmacist
Pharmacists are allied health professionals who practice in pharmacy, the field of health sciences focusing on safe and effective medication use...

. I said, ‘Like Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

.’ He poked me in the chest with a piece of plumbing pipe. ‘You ain’t going to be no engineer,’ he said. ‘You’re going to be Einstein.’" Susskind then studied at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

 under Peter A. Carruthers
Peter A. Carruthers
Peter Carruthers was an American physicist best known for leading the theoretical division of Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1973 until 1980.-Early life and education:...

 where he received his Ph.D. in 1965. He has been married twice, first in 1960, and has four children.

Career


Susskind was an Assistant Professor of Physics, then an Associate Professor at Yeshiva University
Yeshiva University
Yeshiva University is a private university in New York City, with six campuses in New York and one in Israel. Founded in 1886, it is a research university ranked as 45th in the US among national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2012...

 (1966–1970), after which he went for a year at the University of Tel Aviv (1971–72), returning to Yeshiva to become a Professor of Physics (1970–1979). Since 1979 he has been Professor of Physics at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

, and since 2000 has held the Felix Bloch
Felix Bloch
Felix Bloch was a Swiss physicist, working mainly in the U.S.-Life and work:Bloch was born in Zürich, Switzerland to Jewish parents Gustav and Agnes Bloch. He was educated there and at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, also in Zürich. Initially studying engineering he soon changed to physics...

 Professorship of Physics.

In 2007, Susskind joined the Faculty of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is an independent, resident-based research institute devoted to foundational issues in theoretical physics located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Perimeter Institute was founded in 1999 by Mike Lazaridis...

 in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, as an Associate Member. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

, and was awarded the 1998 Sakurai Prize
Sakurai Prize
The J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics, is presented by the American Physical Society at its annual "April Meeting", and honors outstanding achievement in particle physics theory...

 for theoretical physics. He is also a distinguished professor at Korea Institute for Advanced Study
Korea Institute for Advanced Study
The Korea Institute for Advanced Study is an advanced research institute in Korea. It is located on a campus at 207-43 Cheongnyangni 2-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea....

.

Scientific career


Susskind was one of at least three physicists who independently discovered during or around 1970 that the Veneziano
Gabriele Veneziano
Gabriele Veneziano, born in Florence, Italy), is an Italian theoretical physicist and the founder of string theory. . Has spent most of his scientific activities at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland...

 dual resonance model
Dual resonance model
In theoretical physics, a dual resonance model arose the early investigation of string theory as an S-matrix theory of the strong interaction....

 of strong interactions could be described by a quantum mechanical model of strings, and was the first to propose the idea of the string theory landscape
String theory landscape
The string theory landscape or anthropic landscape refers to the large number of possible false vacua in string theory. The "landscape" includes so many possible configurations that some physicists think that the known laws of physics, the standard model and general relativity with a positive...

. Susskind has also made contributions in the following areas of physics:
  • The independent discovery of the string theory
    String theory
    String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything , a manner of describing the known fundamental forces and matter in a mathematically complete system...

     model of particle physics
  • The theory of quark
    Quark
    A quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei. Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly...

     confinement
    Colour confinement
    Color confinement, often simply called confinement, is the physics phenomenon that color charged particles cannot be isolated singularly, and therefore cannot be directly observed. Quarks, by default, clump together to form groups, or hadrons. The two types of hadrons are the mesons and the baryons...

  • The development of Hamiltonian lattice gauge theory
    Hamiltonian lattice gauge theory
    In physics, Hamiltonian lattice gauge theory is a calculational approach to gauge theory and a special case of lattice gauge theory in which the space is discretized but time is not...

  • The theory of scaling violations in deep inelastic electroproduction
  • The theory of symmetry breaking sometimes known as "technicolor
    Technicolor (physics)
    Technicolor theories are models of physics beyond the standard model that address electroweak symmetry breaking, the mechanism through which elementary particles acquire masses...

     theory"
  • The second, yet independent, theory of cosmological baryogenesis
    Baryogenesis
    In physical cosmology, baryogenesis is the generic term for hypothetical physical processes that produced an asymmetry between baryons and antibaryons in the very early universe, resulting in the substantial amounts of residual matter that make up the universe today.Baryogenesis theories employ...

     (Sakharov
    Andrei Sakharov
    Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident and human rights activist. He earned renown as the designer of the Soviet Union's Third Idea, a codename for Soviet development of thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov was an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the...

    's work was first, but was mostly unknown in the Western hemisphere.)
  • String theory of black hole
    Black hole
    A black hole is a region of spacetime from which nothing, not even light, can escape. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. Around a black hole there is a mathematically defined surface called an event horizon that...

     entropy
  • The principle of black hole complementarity
    Black hole complementarity
    Black hole complementarity is a conjectured solution to the black hole information paradox, proposed by Leonard Susskind and Gerard 't Hooft.Ever since Stephen Hawking suggested information is lost in evaporating black hole once it passes through the event horizon and is inevitably destroyed at the...

  • The causal patch
    Causal patch
    After Leonard Susskind proposed the black hole complementarity conjecture for black holes in quantum gravity, he realized it would also apply to a de Sitter universe with a positive cosmological constant with the cosmological horizon in place of the event horizon. The region within the horizon is...

     hypothesis
  • The holographic principle
    Holographic principle
    The holographic principle is a property of quantum gravity and string theories which states that the description of a volume of space can be thought of as encoded on a boundary to the region—preferably a light-like boundary like a gravitational horizon...

  • M-theory
    M-theory
    In theoretical physics, M-theory is an extension of string theory in which 11 dimensions are identified. Because the dimensionality exceeds that of superstring theories in 10 dimensions, proponents believe that the 11-dimensional theory unites all five string theories...

    , including development of the BFSS matrix model
    Matrix string theory
    In physics, Matrix string theory is a set of equations that describe superstring theory in a non-perturbative framework. Type IIA string theory can be shown to be equivalent to a maximally supersymmetric two-dimensional gauge theory, the gauge group of which is U for a large value of N...

  • Kogut-Susskind fermions
  • Introduction of holographic entropy
    Entropy
    Entropy is a thermodynamic property that can be used to determine the energy available for useful work in a thermodynamic process, such as in energy conversion devices, engines, or machines. Such devices can only be driven by convertible energy, and have a theoretical maximum efficiency when...

     bounds in physical cosmology
    Physical cosmology
    Physical cosmology, as a branch of astronomy, is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its formation and evolution. For most of human history, it was a branch of metaphysics and religion...

  • The idea of an anthropic
    Anthropic principle
    In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

     string theory landscape
    String theory landscape
    The string theory landscape or anthropic landscape refers to the large number of possible false vacua in string theory. The "landscape" includes so many possible configurations that some physicists think that the known laws of physics, the standard model and general relativity with a positive...

  • The Census Taker's Hat

Development of String Theory


The story goes that "In 1970, a young physicist named Leonard Susskind got stuck in an elevator with Murray Gell-Mann
Murray Gell-Mann
Murray Gell-Mann is an American physicist and linguist who received the 1969 Nobel Prize in physics for his work on the theory of elementary particles...

, one of physics' top theoreticians, who asked him what he was working on. Susskind said he was working on a theory that represented particles 'as some kind of elastic string, like a rubber band.' Gell-Mann responded with loud, derisive laughter."

Books


Susskind is the author of two popular science books, The Cosmic Landscape
The Cosmic Landscape
The Cosmic Landscape is a non-fiction popular science book on the Anthropic principle and String theory landscape. It is written by theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind.-Background:...

: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design
published in 2005, and The Black Hole War: My battle with Stephen Hawking to make the world safe for quantum mechanics published in 2008.

The Cosmic Landscape



The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design is Susskind's first popular science book, published by Little, Brown and Company on December 12, 2005. It is Susskind's attempt to bring his idea of the anthropic landscape of string theory to the general public. In the book, Susskind describes how the string theory landscape was an almost inevitable consequence of several factors, one of which was Steven Weinberg
Steven Weinberg
Steven Weinberg is an American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for his contributions with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow to the unification of the weak force and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles....

's prediction of the cosmological constant
Cosmological constant
In physical cosmology, the cosmological constant was proposed by Albert Einstein as a modification of his original theory of general relativity to achieve a stationary universe...

 in 1987. The question addressed here is why our universe is fine-tuned for our existence. Susskind explains that Weinberg calculated that if the cosmological constant was just a little different, our universe would cease to exist.

The Black Hole War


The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity...

 to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
is Susskind's second popular science book, published by Little, Brown, and Company on July 7, 2008. The book is his most famous work and explains what he thinks would happen to the information and matter stored in a black hole when it evaporates. The book sparked from a debate that started in 1981, when there was a meeting of physicists to try to decode some of the mysteries about how particles of particular elemental compounds function. During this discussion Stephen Hawking stated that the information inside a black hole is lost forever as the black hole evaporates. It took 28 years for Leonard Susskind to formulate his theory that would prove Hawking wrong. He then published his theory in his book, The Black Hole War. Like The Cosmic Landscape, The Black Hole War is aimed at the lay reader. He writes: "The real tools for understanding the quantum universe are abstract mathematics: infinite dimensional Hilbert spaces, projection operators, unitary matrices and a lot of other advanced principles that take a few years to learn. But let's see how we do in just a few pages."

Lectures


An entire series of courses of lectures on essential theoretical foundations of modern physics by Susskind is available on the iTunes
ITunes
iTunes is a media player computer program, used for playing, downloading, and organizing digital music and video files on desktop computers. It can also manage contents on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad....

 platform from "Stanford on iTunes" http://itunes.stanford.edu/ and YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

 from "StanfordUniversity's Channel" http://www.youtube.com/user/StanfordUniversity. These lectures are intended for the general public as well as students. The following courses are available:

Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum

  • 1 Classical Mechanics (Fall 2007) iTunes YouTube
  • 2 Quantum Mechanics (Winter 2008) iTunes YouTube
  • 3 Special Relativity and Classical Field Theory (Spring 2008) iTunes YouTube
  • 4 Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (Fall 2008) iTunes YouTube
  • 5 Cosmology (Winter 2009) iTunes YouTube
  • 6 Statistical Mechanics (Spring 2009) iTunes YouTube
  • Particle Physics: 1 Basic Concepts (Fall 2009) iTunes YouTube
  • Particle Physics: 2 Standard Model (Winter 2010) iTunes YouTube
  • Particle Physics: 3 Supersymmetry, Grand Unification, String Theory (Spring 2010) iTunes
  • String Theory and M-Theory (Fall 2010) iTunes YouTube
  • Topics in String Theory (Winter 2011) iTunes YouTube (no official playlist created by Stanford yet)
  • 1 Classical Mechanics (Fall 2011) (Videos yet to be published)

A separate series of lectures on Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity

  • Quantum Entanglements Part 1 (Fall 2006) iTunes YouTube
  • Quantum Entanglements Part 2 (Not available online)
  • Quantum Entanglements Part 3 (Spring 2007) iTunes YouTube


(Note that some of the lecture names are a little mixed-up:
"Quantum Entanglements Part 3" is in fact a lecture series on special relativity and electromagnetic theory, and the order in which the lectures were given is 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 2&3, 8 and 9 (in terms of the numbers given on the videos).
There is no mention of string theory in the series "Supersymmetry, Grand Unification, String Theory", nor of M-theory in "String Theory and M-Theory")

Smolin-Susskind Debate


The Smolin-Susskind debate refers to the series of intense postings in 2004 between Lee Smolin
Lee Smolin
Lee Smolin is an American theoretical physicist, a researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Waterloo. He is married to Dina Graser, a communications lawyer in Toronto. His brother is David M...

 and Susskind, concerning Smolin’s argument that the "Anthropic Principle
Anthropic principle
In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

 cannot yield any falsifiable predictions, and therefore cannot be a part of science." It began on July 26, 2004, with Smolin's publication of "Scientific alternatives to the anthropic principle". Smolin e-mailed Susskind asking for a comment. Having not had the chance to read the paper, Susskind requested a summarization of his arguments. Smolin obliged, and on July 28, 2004, Susskind responded, saying that the logic Smolin followed "can lead to ridiculous conclusions". The next day, Smolin responded, saying that "If a large body of our colleagues feels comfortable believing a theory that cannot be proved wrong, then the progress of science could get stuck, leading to a situation in which false, but unfalsifiable theories dominate the attention of our field." This was followed by another paper by Susskind which made a few comments about Smolin's theory of "cosmic natural selection". The Smolin-Susskind debate finally ended with each of them agreeing to write a final letter which would be posted on Edge, with three conditions attached: (1) No more than one letter each; (2) Neither sees the other's letter in advance; (3) No changes after the fact.

Although the exchanges ended in 2004, the animosity remains. In 2006, Susskind criticized Smolin as a "mid-level theoretical physicist" whose "popular book-writing activities and the related promotional hustling have given him a platform high above that merited by his physics accomplishments."

See also

  • Superstring theory
    Superstring theory
    Superstring theory is an attempt to explain all of the particles and fundamental forces of nature in one theory by modelling them as vibrations of tiny supersymmetric strings...

  • Quantum chromodynamics
    Quantum chromodynamics
    In theoretical physics, quantum chromodynamics is a theory of the strong interaction , a fundamental force describing the interactions of the quarks and gluons making up hadrons . It is the study of the SU Yang–Mills theory of color-charged fermions...

  • Supersymmetry
    Supersymmetry
    In particle physics, supersymmetry is a symmetry that relates elementary particles of one spin to other particles that differ by half a unit of spin and are known as superpartners...

  • Susskind-Glogower operator
    Susskind-Glogower operator
    The Susskind-Glogower operator, first proposed by Leonard Susskind and J. Glogower , refers to the operator where the phase is introduced as an approximate polar decomposition of the creation and annihilation operators...

  • List of theoretical physicists
  • Kogut-Susskind fermion
    Kogut-Susskind fermion
    Kogut–Susskind fermions are a lattice version of Kähler–Dirac fermions, which obey a first-order differential equation by taking an alternative square root of the Laplacian than that used by Dirac. They are named after John Kogut and Leonard Susskind....

    s
  • Fischler-Susskind mechanism
    Fischler-Susskind mechanism
    The Fischler-Susskind mechanism, first proposed by Willy Fischler and Leonard Susskind in 1998 , is a holographic prescription based on the particle horizon. "The Fischler–Susskind prescription is used to obtain the maximum number of degrees of freedom per Planck volume at the Planck era...

  • Boris Pregel
    Boris Pregel
    Boris Pregel was a dealer in uranium and radium. He was born in the Ukraine but moved to Paris after the October Revolution. In 1937 he married Alexandra Avksentiev, daughter of Nikolai Avksentiev...


Further reading

  • Chown, Marcus, "Our world may be a giant hologram", New Scientist
    New Scientist
    New Scientist is a weekly non-peer-reviewed English-language international science magazine, which since 1996 has also run a website, covering recent developments in science and technology for a general audience. Founded in 1956, it is published by Reed Business Information Ltd, a subsidiary of...

    , 15 January 2009, magazine issue 2691. "The holograms you find on credit cards and banknotes are etched on two-dimensional plastic films. When light bounces off them, it recreates the appearance of a 3D image. In the 1990s physicists Leonard Susskind and Nobel prizewinner Gerard 't Hooft suggested that the same principle might apply to the universe as a whole. Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface."

External links


  • Leonard Susskind's Homepage (Stanford University)
  • Susskind's Blog: Physics for Everyone
  • The Edge:
    • "Interview with Leonard Susskind."
    • "Smolin vs. Susskind: The Anthropic Principle" Susskind and Lee Smolin
      Lee Smolin
      Lee Smolin is an American theoretical physicist, a researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Waterloo. He is married to Dina Graser, a communications lawyer in Toronto. His brother is David M...

       debate the Anthropic principle
      Anthropic principle
      In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

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    This Week in Science is a science radio talk show broadcasting from KDVS 90.3FM on the UC Davis campus. Each week, TWIS founder/host Kirsten Sanford and co-host Justin Jackson review current research in technology...

     March 14, 2006 Broadcast
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    This article concerns the historic Virginia building. For other places called "Commonwealth Club", see Commonwealth Club.The Commonwealth Club, is a private gentlemen's club in Richmond, Virginia, USA. Its present clubhouse was completed in 1891. The defining structure of the Commonwealth Club...

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    The Commonwealth Club
    This article concerns the historic Virginia building. For other places called "Commonwealth Club", see Commonwealth Club.The Commonwealth Club, is a private gentlemen's club in Richmond, Virginia, USA. Its present clubhouse was completed in 1891. The defining structure of the Commonwealth Club...

    , July 2008
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