Robert Laughlin

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


Research Interests