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luni, 17 august 2009

Leonard Susskind

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Leonard Susskind (born 1940) is the Felix Bloch professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University, whose research interests include string theory, quantum field theory, quantum statistical mechanics and quantum cosmology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an associate member of the faculty of Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and a distinguished professor of the Korea Institute for Advanced Study.


Susskind is widely regarded as one of the fathers of string theory, who with Yoichiro Nambu and Holger Bech Nielsen, independently introduced the idea that particles could in fact be states of excitation of a relativistic string. He was the first to introduce the idea of the string theory landscape in 2003. In 1997, Susskind was awarded the J.J. Sakurai Prize for his "pioneering contributions to hadronic string models, lattice gauge theories, quantum chromodynamics, and dynamical symmetry breaking". Susskind's hallmark, according to colleagues, has been the application of "brilliant imagination and originality to the theoretical study of the nature of the elementary particles and forces that make up the physical world."


Susskind is the author of two popular science books, The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design published in 2005, and The Black Hole War: My battle with Stephen Hawking to make the world safe for quantum mechanics published in 2008.


  • The Cosmic Landscape

The cosmic landscape: string theory and the illusion of intelligent design is Susskind's first popular science book, published by Little, Brown and Company on December 12, 2005. It is Susskind's attempt to bring his idea of the anthropic landscape of string theory to the general public. In the book, Susskind describes how the string theory landscape was an almost inevitable consequence of several factors, one of which was Steven Weinberg's prediction of the cosmological constant in 1987. The question addressed here is why our universe is fine-tuned for our existence. Susskind explains that Weinberg calculated that if the cosmological constant was just a little larger, our universe would cease to exist.


  • The Black Hole War

The Black Hole War: My battle with Stephen Hawking to make the world safe for quantum mechanics is Susskind's second popular science book, published by Little, Brown and Company, published on July 7, 2008. Like The Cosmic Landscape, The Black Hole War is aimed at the lay reader. He writes: "The real tools for understanding the quantum universe are abstract mathematics: infinite dimensional Hilbert spaces, projection operators, unitary matrices and a lot of other advanced principles that take a few years to learn. But let's see how we do in just a few pages". Susskind, according to one review, himself "continually refers to Hawking being “wrong,” as if it were a done deal, rather than letting the reader enjoy the suspense of wondering who will win this war."


Susskind's Blog


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