Leonard Susskind

Leonard Susskind
Leonard Susskind
  • Born: January 1, 1940
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Physicist









Leonard Susskind is an American physicist, who is professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University, and director of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics. His research interests include string theory, quantum field theory, quantum statistical mechanics and quantum cosmology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the US, 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.

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A lot of my research time is spent daydreaming - telling an imaginary admiring audience of laymen how to understand some difficult scientific idea. Time
At 5 years old, I saw 'Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein,' and I was so scared when Costello sat himself down in the lap of the monster, not realizing where he was. My friends teased me. They were older, 8 years old. And my goal was to become a mad scientist and get back at them. And here I am, mad as hell!
Einstein, in the special theory of relativity, proved that different observers, in different states of motion, see different realities.
Eventually, when the universe expands enough, all that will be left is the dark energy.
Every time a bit of information is erased, we know it doesn't disappear. It goes out into the environment. It may be horribly scrambled and confused, but it never really gets lost. It's just converted into a different form. Time
Extra dimensional theories are sometimes considered science fiction with equations. I think that's a wrong attitude. I think extra dimensions are with us, they are with us to stay, and they entered physics a long time ago. They are not going to go away. Time ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I did not come from an academic background. My father was a smart man, but he had a fifth-grade education. He and all his friends were plumbers. They were all born around 1905 in great poverty in New York City and had to go to work when they were 12 or 13 years old. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I have a funny mental framework when I do physics. I create an imaginary audience in my head to explain things to - it is part of the way I think. For me, teaching and explaining, even to my imaginary audience, is part of the process. Humor
I have always enjoyed explaining physics. In fact it's more than just enjoyment: I need to explain physics.
I often feel a discomfort, a kind of embarrassment, when I explain elementary-particle physics to laypeople. It all seems so arbitrary - the ridiculous collection of fundamental particles, the lack of pattern to their masses.
I was from a poor Jewish family in the South Bronx. My father was a plumber, but when I was 16, he got sick and I had to take over. Being a plumber in the South Bronx wasn't fun. Families, Children & Parenting
I was going to engineering school but fell in love with physics. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I went to college because my father thought that I should learn engineering, because he wanted to go into the heating business with me. There, I realized I wanted to be a physicist. I had to tell him, which was a somewhat traumatic experience. Business, Commerce & Finance
I'm a great believer in our ability to come up with the ideas necessary to solve the big questions. I have less confidence that we'll be able to find a consensus about which ones are right without experiment.
I'm a great believer that scientists should spend as much time as possible explaining, and you do explain in the process of teaching. Time
I'm afraid I am a bit of a technophobe - a nineteenth-century man caught in the twenty-first century. But there is one piece of technology that I would especially welcome: a device to automatically balance restaurant tables on all four legs so that they don't rock back and forth. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I'm doing physics because I'm curious about how it works - full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes, don't worry about whether somebody is going to be able to do an experiment next week, just figure it out.
I'm not going to argue with people about the existence of God. I have not the vaguest idea of whether the universe was created by an intelligence. Religion & God
Is the universe 'elegant,' as Brian Greene tells us? Not as far as I can tell, not the usual laws of particle physics, anyway. I think I might find the universal principles of String Theory most elegant - if I only knew what they were.
It seems hopelessly improbable that any particular rules accidentally led to the miracle of intelligent life. Nevertheless, this is exactly what most physicists have believed: intelligent life is a purely serendipitous consequence of physical principles that have nothing to do with our own existence. Life
Life is fragile: it thrives only in a narrow range of temperatures between freezing and boiling. How lucky that our planet is just the right distance from the sun: a little farther, and the death of the perpetual Antarctic winter - or worse - would prevail; a little closer, and the surface would truly fry anything that touched it. Life ;Death
Man - life in general - seems irrelevant to the workings of the universe: a mere smudge of water, grease, and carbon on a pinpoint planet circling a star of no special consequence. Life
Over the years, I began to understand that there were a lot of people out there reading physics in popular literature that they could not understand - not because it was too advanced, but because it wasn't advanced enough.
Physics is perceived as a lonesome, nerdy kind of enterprise that has very little to do with human feelings and the things that excite people day-to-day about each other. Yet physicists in their own working environment are very social creatures.
Science blogs bore me. When everyone is an expert, no one is an expert. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Science to me is sufficiently weird and interesting, and stranger than fiction. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Space can vibrate, space can fluctuate, space can be quantum mechanical, but what the devil is it? And, you know, everybody has their own idea about what it is, but there's no coherent final consensus on why there is space.
The dark energy is not exactly zero, but the first 122 decimal points are zero. That's crazy. That is really one of the craziest things we've ever discovered.
The most important single thing about string theory is that it's a highly mathematical theory, and the mathematics holds together in a very tight and consistent way. It contains in its basic structure both quantum mechanics and the theory of gravity. That's big news.
The success of ordinary cosmology speaks against the idea that the universe was created in a random fluctuation. Success
The word 'universe' is obviously not intended to have a plural, but science has evolved in such a way that we need a plural noun for something similar to what we ordinarily call our universe. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Unforeseen surprises are the rule in science, not the exception. Remember: Stuff happens. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Whether or not evolution is compatible with faith, science and religion represent two extremely different worldviews, which, if they coexist at all, do so most uncomfortably. Religion & God ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Why is there space rather than no space? Why is space three-dimensional? Why is space big? We have a lot of room to move around in. How come it's not tiny? We have no consensus about these things. We're still exploring them.
You are a victim of your own neural architecture which doesn't permit you to imagine anything outside of three dimensions. Even two dimensions. People know they can't visualise four or five dimensions, but they think they can close their eyes and see two dimensions. But they can't.
You have to say now that space is something. Space can vibrate, space can fluctuate, space can be quantum mechanical, but what the devil is it?