Posts Tagged ‘Robert Laughlin’

Chapter 16 from A Different Universe by Robert Laughlin. Ironically, the very success of reductionism has helped pave the way for its eclipse. Over time, careful quantitative study of microscopic parts has revealed that at the primitive level at least, collective principles of organization are not just a quaint side show but everything – the true […]

Chapter 15 from A Different Universe by Robert Laughlin. We scientists tend to think of art, history, and so forth as interesting but too complex to be professionally useful to us, while the humanists tend to think of physics, chemistry, and so forth as interesting but too simple to be professionally useful to them. Humanists […]

Chapter 14 from A Different Universe by Robert Laughlin. However, the studiousness was misleading, for what I was actually doing all that time in the bowels of the library was not my homework but something funding agents in Washington viscerally hate and have come to disparagingly refer to as “curiosity-driven research” – rapid, off-line investigations […]

Chapter 13 from A Different Universe by Robert Laughlin. Life is especially fun to talk about from a physical perspective because it is the most extreme case of the emergence of law. In fact, the entire idea of emergence was invented by biologists to explain why some aspects of living things – the rodlike shapes […]

Chapter 12 from A Different Universe by Robert Laughlin. The Dark Corollaries also have important and disturbing consequences for business and the economy. … Suppose I write a computer program that allegedly predicts something. I tell you the underlying equations – in other words, what the code ostensibly does – but not reveal the method […]

Chapter 11 from A Different Universe by Robert Laughlin. One does so by means of complexity theory, a branch of mathematics born in the 1970s that subsumes the topics of chaos, fractals, and cellular automata. The strategy of complexity theory is to so simplify and abstract the equations of motion of matter that they can […]

Chapter 9 from A Different Universe by Robert Laughlin. The more important matter is that ideologies preclude discovery. All of us see the world as we wish it were rather than as it actually is, for it is in our nature, but we need to keep in mind that this is a design flaw of […]

Chapter 7 from A Different Universe by Robert Laughlin. The fractional quantum Hall effect reveals that ostensibly indivisible quanta – in this case the electron charge e – can be broken into pieces though self-organization of phases. The fundamental things, in other words, are not necessarily fundamental. The important issue implicit in the von Klizting […]