N. David Mermin
|Born||30 March 1935
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
University of California, San Diego
University of Birmingham
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Known for||Mermin–Wagner theorem
Lindhard–Mermin dielectric function
Coining the term 'boojum'
Mermin–Peres magic square
|Notable awards||Lilienfeld Prize (1989)
National Academy of Sciences (1991)
Klopsteg Memorial Award (1994)
Majorana Prize (2010)
American Philosophical Society(2015)
Nathaniel David Mermin (//; born 1935) is a solid-state physicist at Cornell University best known for the eponymous Mermin–Wagner theorem, his application of the term "Boojum" to superfluidity, and for the quote "shut up and calculate!" (in the context of the interpretation of quantum mechanics).
Mermin has published about 130 technical scientific articles, 20 pedagogical articles for scientists, 25 articles for the general reader, 35 book reviews, and 30 opinion pieces in Physics Today.
- Henceforth, by 1 foot we shall mean the distance light travels in a nanosecond. A foot, if you will, is a light nanosecond (and a nanosecond, even more nicely, can be viewed as a light foot). …If it offends you to redefine the foot … then you may define 0.299792458 meters to be 1 phoot, and think "phoot" (conveniently evocative of the Greek φωτος, "light") whenever you read "foot".
This adaptation of a physical unit is one of several ploys that Mermin uses to draw students into space-time geometry.
- 1976: (with Niel Ashcroft) Solid State Physics, Holt, Rinehart and Winston ISBN 0-03-083993-9
- 1968: Space and Time in Special Relativity, McGraw Hill ISBN 0-88133-420-0
- 1990: Boojums All the Way Through, Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-38880-5
- 2005: It's About Time: Understanding Einstein's Relativity, Princeton University Press ISBN 978-0-691-12201-4
- 2007: Quantum Computer Science, Cambridge University Press ISBN 978-0-521-87658-2
- 2016: Why Quark Rhymes with Pork, and Other Scientific Diversions, Cambridge University Press ISBN 978-1-107-02430-4
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