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Robert B. Laughlin

Robert B. LaughlinAKA Robert Betts Laughlin

Born: 1-Nov-1950
Birthplace: Visalia, CA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Fractional quantum Hall effect

Military service: US Army, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery (1972-74)

American physicist Robert B. Laughlin explained the fractional quantum Hall effect (FQHE), which was discovered by Horst L. Störmer and Daniel C. Tsui in 1982. FQHE is a physical phenomenon manifested when a system at low temperatures and in strong magnetic fields seemingly misbehaves, with electrons forming into quasi-particles with charge smaller than the elementary charge. Laughlin demonstrated that in a powerful magnetic field, electrons can condense to effectively form a "quantum fluid" akin to a similar phenomenon that occurs in liquid helium and superconductors. Laughlin, Störmer, and Tsui shared the highest honor in science, the Nobel Prize, in 1998.

Father: (attorney)
Mother: (teacher)
Sister: Margaret (attorney)
Brother: John (computer programmer)
Wife: Anita
Son: Nathaniel
Son: Todd

    University: BA Mathematics, University of California at Berkeley (1972)
    University: PhD Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1979)
    Teacher: Physics, Stanford University (1985-89)
    Professor: Physics, Stanford University (1989-92)
    Professor: Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor, Stanford University (1992-2004)
    Administrator: Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (2004-06)

    E. O. Lawrence Award 1985
    APS Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize 1986
    Benjamin Franklin Medal 1998 (by the Franklin Institute)
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1998 (with Horst L. Störmer and Daniel C. Tsui)
    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Research Physicist (1981-2004)
    Bell Laboratories Research Physicist (1979-81)
    Academy of Achievement 1999
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Physical Society
    Boy Scouts of America (childhood)
    Finnish Physical Society Foreign Member
    IBM Fellow 1976-78
    National Academy of Sciences 1994

Official Website:

Author of books:
A Different Universe:Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down (2005, popular science)
The Crime of Reason, and the Closing of the Scientific Mind (2008, popular science)
When Coal Is Gone (2011, popular science)

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