|Born||November 26, 1954|
|Alma mater||Brandeis University|
University of California, Berkeley
|Institutions||Max Planck Institute for Physics|
California Institute of Technology
|Doctoral advisor||Eyvind Wichmann|
Leonard Mlodinow (//; November 26, 1954) is an American theoretical physicist, screenwriter and author. In physics, he is known for his work on the large N expansion, a method of approximating the spectrum of atoms based on the consideration of an infinite-dimensional version of the problem, and for his work on the quantum theory of light inside dielectrics.
He is known to a wider audience through his books for the general public, five of which have been New York Times best-sellers, including The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, which was chosen as a New York Times notable book, and short-listed for the Royal Society Science Book Prize; The Grand Design, co-authored with Stephen Hawking, which argues that invoking God is not necessary to explain the origins of the universe; War of the Worldviews, co-authored with Deepak Chopra; and Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior, which won the 2013 PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing. He is also known through his public lectures and media appearances on programs ranging from Morning Joe to Through the Wormhole, and for debating Deepak Chopra on ABC's Nightline.
Mlodinow was born in Chicago, Illinois, of parents who were both Holocaust survivors. His father, who spent more than a year in the Buchenwald concentration camp, had been a leader in the Jewish resistance in his hometown of Częstochowa, in Nazi Germany-occupied Poland. As a child, Mlodinow was interested in both mathematics and chemistry, and while in high school was tutored in organic chemistry by a professor from the University of Illinois. As recounted in his book Feynman's Rainbow, his interest turned to physics during a semester he took off from college to spend on a kibbutz in Israel, during which he had little to do at night besides reading The Feynman Lectures on Physics, which was one of the few English books he found in the kibbutz library.
Mlodinow completed his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley. It was in that PhD dissertation that he developed a new type of perturbation theory for nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, based upon solving the problem in infinite dimensions, and then correcting for the fact that we live in three. The method has become the basis of the 1/d expansion used by theoretical chemists. He has also done pioneering and innovative work in the quantum theory of nonlinear optics. The central problem of quantum nonlinear optics is how to quantize a dielectric that, as well as the usual homogeneities and anisotropy, can also have nonlinearities and dispersion, and earlier attempts in this direction, while incorporating the known linear theory, had not fully reproduced the nonlinear equations.
In 1981, Mlodinow joined the faculty at Caltech. Later, he was named an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow and worked at the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics in Munich, Germany. In 1986, Mlodinow left full-time academia to begin a writing career. In addition to his books, he wrote many episodes for a number of television series including Star Trek: The Next Generation and MacGyver, created computer games with director Steven Spielberg and actor Robin Williams, and wrote the screenplay for the 2009 film Beyond the Horizon. He also continued to conduct research in theoretical physics, and again joined the faculty of Caltech in 2005, leaving in 2013. His latest work in physics concerns the arrow of time, quantum decoherence, and the relation between discrete quantum random walks and the relativistic equations of quantum theory.
- Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change (2018) (ISBN 1-101-87092-3) A new look at the neuroscience of change—and how elastic thinking can help us thrive in a world changing faster than ever before.
- The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos (2015) (ISBN 978-0-30790-823-0) A history of human progress, from our time on the African savannah through the invention of modern quantum physics..
- Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior (2012) (ISBN 0-307-37821-7) Describes how things that we think are conscious, freely made choices, are in fact governed by our subconscious.
- The War of the Worldviews (2011) (ISBN 978-0-307-88688-0) with Deepak Chopra. From their contrasting scientific and spiritual perspectives, the two authors answer the big questions about the universe, consciousness, life, and God.
- The Grand Design (2010) (ISBN 0-553-80537-1) with Stephen Hawking. This book argues that invoking God is not necessary to explain the origins of the universe. It became a No. 1 New York Times bestseller.
- The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives (2008) (ISBN 0-375-42404-0), deals with randomness and people's inability to take it into account in their daily lives. The book was a "NY Times notable book of the year".
- A Briefer History of Time (2005) (ISBN 0-553-80436-7), with Stephen Hawking.
- Feynman's Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life (2003) (as published in USA) (ISBN 0-446-53045-X), is about his relationship with Richard Feynman and Richard Feynman's brilliance, during his post-doctoral years in Caltech, in the early eighties. The book offers an insight into Feynman's attitude towards physics and life, his relationship with Murray Gell-Mann and the rise of String Theory.
- Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace (2001) (ISBN 0-684-86523-8) is a work on popular science that chronicles the idea of curved space and the history of geometry.
- Children's books
- The Kids of Einstein Elementary: Titanic Cat, co-authored with Matt Costello and Josh Nash (2004) (ISBN 0-439-53774-6)
- The Kids of Einstein Elementary: The Last Dinosaur, co-authored with Matt Costello and Josh Nash (2004) (ISBN 0-439-53773-8)
Awards and honors
- 2013 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, Subliminal
- 2010 Liber Press Award for the Popularization of Science
- In 2008 the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSICOP) awarded Mlodinow the Robert P. Balles Prize for Critical Thinking for his book The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives
- Mlodinow, Leonard. "Mindware and Superforecasting." New York Times (October 15, 2015): 23.
- Mlodinow, Leonard. "It is, in Fact, Rocket Science," New York Times (May 15, 2015): 23.
- Mlodinow, Leonard. "Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality." New York Times (October 25, 2013): 15.
- Mlodinow, Leonard. "Most of Us are Biased After All." New York Times (April 4, 2013): 58.
- Mlodinow, Leonard. "In Hollywood, Theories of Infinite Dimensions." New York Times (June 3, 2012): 58.
- Mlodinow, Leonard. "A Facial Theory of Politics." New York Times (April 22, 2012): 58.
- Mlodinow, Leonard. "Physics: Fundamental Feynman." Nature 471 (2011), 296-297.
- Hawking, Stephen, and Leonard Mlodinow. "The (elusive) theory of everything." Scientific American 303.4 (2010): 68-71.
- Hawking, Stephen, and Leonard Mlodinow. "Why God did not create the universe." Wall Street Journal (September 4—5, 2010) W 3 (2010).
- Mlodinow, Leonard. "A hint of hype, a taste of illusion." Wall Street Journal (November 20, 2009).
- Mlodinow, Leonard. "The Triumph of the Random," Was Joe Di Maggio's hitting streak a fluke?" Wall Street Journal (July 16, 2009).
- Mlodinow, Leonard. "Meet Hollywood's Latest Genius." Los Angeles Times (July 2, 2006).
- Tenenbaum, Joseph (1952). Underground, The Story of a People. p. 195. ISBN 9781786257963.
- Mlodinow, Leonard (2003). Feynman's Rainbow: a Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life. Grand Central Publishing.
- Mlodinow, L. D., and N. Papanicolaou (1980). "SO (2, 1) algebra and the large N expansion in quantum mechanics". Annals of Physics. 128 (2): 314–334. Bibcode:1980AnPhy.128..314M. doi:10.1016/0003-4916(80)90323-1.
- Mlodinow, L. D., and N. Papanicolaou (1981). "Pseudo-spin structure and large N expansion for a class of generalized helium Hamiltonians". Annals of Physics. 131 (1): 1–35. Bibcode:1981AnPhy.131....1M. doi:10.1016/0003-4916(81)90181-0.
- Bender, Carl M., L. D. Mlodinow, and N. Papanicolaou (1982). "Semiclassical perturbation theory for the hydrogen atom in a uniform magnetic field". Physical Review A. 25 (3): 1305–1314. Bibcode:1982PhRvA..25.1305B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.25.1305.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Mlodinow, Leonard D., and Michael P. Shatz (1984). "Solving the Schrödinger equation with use of 1/N perturbation theory" (PDF). Journal of Mathematical Physics. 25 (4): 943–950. Bibcode:1984JMP....25..943M. doi:10.1063/1.526211.
- Doren, D. J., and D. R. Herschbach (1985). "Accurate semiclassical electronic structure from dimensional singularities". Chemical Physics Letters. 118 (2): 115–119. Bibcode:1985CPL...118..115D. doi:10.1016/0009-2614(85)85280-5.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Loeser, J. G., and D. R. Herschbach. (1985). "Dimensional interpolation of correlation energy for two-electron atoms". The Journal of Physical Chemistry. 89 (16): 3444–3447. doi:10.1021/j100262a004.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Luks, A., and V. Perinova, Emil Wolf, ed. (2002). Canonical quantum description of light propagation in dielectric media. Progress in Optics. 43. pp. 304–206. ISBN 9780444510228.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Lukš, Antonín, and Vlasta Perinová (2009). Origin of Macroscopic Approach. Quantum Aspects of Light Propagation. pp. 7–9. doi:10.1007/b101766_2. ISBN 978-0-387-85589-9.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Drummond, Peter D (1990). "Electromagnetic quantization in dispersive inhomogeneous nonlinear dielectrics" (PDF). Physical Review A. 42 (11): 6845–6857. Bibcode:1990PhRvA..42.6845D. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.42.6845.
- Duan, Lu-Ming, and Guang-Can Guo (1997). "Alternative approach to electromagnetic field quantization in nonlinear and inhomogeneous media". Physical Review A. 56 (1): 925–930. arXiv:quant-ph/9612009. Bibcode:1997PhRvA..56..925D. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.56.925.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Bezgabadi, Abolfazl Safaei, and Mohammad Agha Bolorizadeh (2016). "Quantum mechanical treatment of the third order nonlinear term in NLS equation and the supercontinuum generation". Photonic Fiber and Crystal Devices: Advances in Materials and Innovations in Device Applications X. 9958: 995803. doi:10.1117/12.2236882.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Hillery, Mark, and Leonard D. Mlodinow (1984). "Quantization of electrodynamics in nonlinear dielectric media". Physical Review A. 30 (4): 1860–1865. Bibcode:1984PhRvA..30.1860H. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.30.1860.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Hillery, Mark, and Leonard D. Mlodinow (1985). "Semiclassical expansion for nonlinear dielectric media". Physical Review A. 31 (2): 797–806. Bibcode:1985PhRvA..31..797H. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.31.797.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Hillery, Mark, and Leonard Mlodinow (1997). "Quantized fields in a nonlinear dielectric medium: a microscopic approach". Physical Review A. 55 (1): 678–689. arXiv:atom-ph/9608002. Bibcode:1997PhRvA..55..678H. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.55.678.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Disney's Math Quest with Aladdin, Robin Williams, Gilbert Gottfried, Scott Weinger, retrieved January 2, 2018CS1 maint: others (link)
- Beyond the Horizon (2009), retrieved January 2, 2018
- Mlodinow, Leonard, and Todd A. Brun (2014). "Relation between the psychological and thermodynamic arrows of time". Physical Review E. 89.5 (1): 052102. arXiv:1310.2121. Bibcode:2014PhRvE..89a2102C. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.89.012102. PMID 24580167.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Hillery, Mark, Leonard Mlodinow, and Vladimír Bužek (2005). "Quantum interference with molecules: The role of internal states". Physical Review A. 71.6 (1): 062103. arXiv:quant-ph/0502156. Bibcode:2005PhRvA..71a2103S. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.71.012103.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Brun, Todd A., and Leonard Mlodinow (2016). "Decoherence by coupling to internal vibrational modes". Physical Review A. 94.5 (1): 052123. arXiv:1510.04857. Bibcode:2016PhRvA..94a2123K. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.94.012123.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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