A Nobel-winning physicist argues that fundamental physical laws are found not in the world of atoms, but in the macroscopic world around us
In this age of superstring theories and Big Bang cosmology, we're used to thinking of the unknown as impossibly distant from our everyday lives. But in A Different Universe, Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin argues that the scientific frontier is right under our fingers. Instead of looking for ultimate theories, Laughlin considers the world of emergent properties-meaning the properties, such as the hardness and shape of a crystal, that result from the organization of large numbers of atoms. Laughlin shows us how the most fundamental laws of physics are in fact emergent. A Different Universe is a truly mind-bending book that shows us why everything we think about fundamental physical laws needs to change.
Robert B. Laughlin is the Robert M. and Anne Bass Professor of Physics at Stanford University, where he has taught since 1985. In 1998 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the fractional quantum Hall effect. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He lives in Palo Alto, California.
"I started reading, and cliche though it be I couldn't stop... A Different Universe should be required reading for physics researchers, teachers and students..."—New Scientist
"An important, brain-tickling new book."—New York Times
"Science buffs and young scientists will find this a worthwhile challenge to business as usual in physics."—Publishers Weekly
"This is an absolutely delightful book. It is charmingly written, bright, cheerful, funny, irreverent, and full of amusing stories. It also tells more about how the very strange world of quantum behavior blends into the very familiar world of everyday experience than any book I know...Laughlin really does know what he is talking about."—George Whitesides, professor of chemistry, Harvard University