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Robert Laughlin

Robert Laughlin

Affiliated Faculty
Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Physics (1979)
A.B., University of California at Berkeley, Mathematics (1972)

Professor Laughlin is a theorist with interests ranging from hard-core engineering to cosmology. He is an expert in semiconductors (Nobel Prize 1998) and has also worked on plasma and nuclear physics issues related to fusion and nuclear-pumped X-ray lasers. His technical work at the moment focuses on “correlated-electron” phenomenology – working backward from experimental properties of materials to infer the presence (or not) of new kinds of quantum self-organization. He recently proposed that all Mott insulators – including the notorious doped ones that exhibit high-temperature superconductivity – are plagued by a new kind of subsidiary order called “orbital antiferromagnetism” that is difficult to detect directly. He is also the author of A Different Universe, a lay-accessible book explaining emergent law.