Luboš Motl

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Luboš Motl
Lubos Motl in 2011.jpg
Luboš Motl in 2011
Born (1973-12-05) 5 December 1973 (age 44)
Plzeň, Czechoslovakia (present-day Czech Republic)
Alma materCharles University (MA)
Rutgers University (PhD)
Known for
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical physics, String theory
ThesisNonperturbative Formulations of Superstring Theory (2001)
Doctoral advisorTom Banks

Luboš Motl (/ˈlbʃ ˈmtəl/; born December 5, 1973) is a Czech theoretical physicist. He was an assistant professor at Harvard University from 2004 to 2007. His scientific publications were focused on string theory.

Life and career[edit]

Motl was born in Plzeň, present-day Czech Republic. He won a Bronze Medal at the 1992 International Mathematical Olympiad.[1] He received his master's degree from the Charles University in Prague, and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Rutgers University (2001) and has been a Harvard Junior Fellow (2001–2004) and assistant professor (2004–2007) at Harvard University. In 2007, he left Harvard and returned to the Czech Republic.

Despite being an undergraduate at a Czech university where none of the faculty specialized in string theory, Motl came to the attention of a noted string theorist, Professor Thomas Banks, in 1996 when Banks read an arXiv posting by Motl on matrix string theory. "I was at first a little annoyed by [Motl's] paper, because it scooped me," said Banks. "This feeling turned to awe when I realized that Lubos was still an undergraduate".[2] He then became a graduate student of Tom Banks, and wrote his PhD thesis on matrix theory. While at Harvard, Motl worked on the pp-wave limit of AdS/CFT correspondence, twistor theory and its application to gauge theory with supersymmetry, black hole thermodynamics and the conjectured relevance of quasinormal modes for loop quantum gravity, deconstruction, and other topics. In 2006, he proposed the Weak Gravity Conjecture with Nima Arkani-Hamed, Alberto Nicolis and Cumrun Vafa. He is the author of L'équation Bogdanov, a 2008 French-language book discussing the scientific ideas and controversy of the Bogdanov brothers.[3]

The Reference Frame[edit]

Motl writes a science and politics blog called "The Reference Frame: Supersymmetric world from a conservative viewpoint", which has been described as an "over-the-top" defense of string theory.[4] Following the example of Oriana Fallaci, he characterizes himself as a Christian atheist.[5][6]

In January 2016, The Reference Frame was the first source to state that the LIGO experiment detected a merger of two black holes.[7][8][9] The discovery, known as the first observation of gravitational waves, was officially announced one month later.

Motl has strongly criticised Erik Verlinde's entropic gravity theory.[10][11]


  1. ^ "International Mathematical Olympiad". International Mathematical Olympiad. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  2. ^ "The World of Science Becomes a Global Village; Archive Opens a New Realm of Research", James Glanz, New York Times, May 1, 2001
  3. ^ Motl, Luboš (2008). L'équation Bogdanov: le secret de l'origine de l'univers?. Presses de la Renaissance. ISBN 978-2750903862.
  4. ^ "The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory - George Musser". p. 279. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
  5. ^ "The Reference Frame: Are all climate skeptics theocratic?". 2011-09-09. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
  6. ^ "The Reference Frame: Oriana Fallaci: The Force of Reason". 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
  7. ^ Castelvecchi, Davide (2016-01-12). "Gravitational-wave rumours in overdrive". Nature. Retrieved 2016-03-30. The most specific rumour now comes in a blog post by theoretical physicist Luboš Motl: it's speculated that the two detectors, which began to collect data again last September after a $200-million upgrade, have picked up waves produced by two black holes in the act of merging.
  8. ^ Hall, Shannon (2016-01-13). "About The LIGO Gravitational-Wave Rumor. ." Sky & Telescope. Retrieved 2016-03-30. Details of the supposed detection, however, were not publicly bandied about until Monday, when theoretical physicist Luboš Motl posted on his blog the latest version of the rumor: that aLIGO has picked up waves produced by two colliding black holes each with 10 or more solar masses. He also said he’s been told that two events have been detected.
  9. ^ Motl, Luboš (2016-01-11). "LIGO rumor: a merger of 2 black holes has been heard". The Reference Frame (Blog). Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  10. ^ "First test of rival to Einstein's gravity kills off dark matter". New Scientist. 2016-12-15. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  11. ^ "Verlinde's de Sitter MOND is highly incomplete, to say the least". The Reference Frame (Blog). 2016-11-12. Retrieved 2017-08-01.

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