Bio


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.

Academic Appointments


Administrative Appointments


  • Professor of Applied Physics (Dual Appointment with Physics), Stanford University (1993 - 2007)
  • Postdoc, AT&T Bell Laboratories (1979 - 1981)
  • Professor of Physics, Stanford University (1989 - Present)

Honors & Awards


  • Onsager Medal, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (2007)
  • Doctorate of Letters, University of Maryland (2005)
  • Golden Plate, Stanford University (1999)
  • Nobel Prize in Physics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1998)
  • Benjamin Franklin Medal for Physics, The Franklin Institute (1998)
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences (1994-Present)
  • Oliver E. Buckley Prize, American Physical Society (1986)
  • E. O. Lawrence Award for Physics, U.S. Department of Energy (1985)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Research Scientist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1981 - 2004)
  • President, Korean Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (2004 - 2006)
  • President, Asia-Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics (2004 - 2006)
  • Board Member, Science Foundation Ireland (2002 - 2003)

Program Affiliations


  • Science, Technology and Society

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Physics (1979)
  • A.B., University of California at Berkeley, Mathematics (1972)

2018-19 Courses


Stanford Advisees


All Publications


  • Powering the Future: How We Will (Eventually) Solve the Energy Crisis and Fuel the Civilization of Tomorrow Laughlin, R. B. New York: Basic Books. 2011
  • The Crime of Reason Laughlin, R. B. New York: Basic Books. 2008
  • Gossamer superconductivity PHILOSOPHICAL MAGAZINE Laughlin, R. B. 2006; 86 (9): 1165-1171
  • Looking for a Hero Laughlin, R. B. Seoul: Hans Media. 2006
  • A Different Universe: Remaking Physics from the Bottom Down Laughlin, R. B. New York: Basic Books. 2005
  • Spectroscopy of matter near criticality ANNALS OF PHYSICS Bernevig, B. A., Giuliano, D., Laughlin, R. B. 2004; 311 (1): 182-190
  • The cup of the hand SCIENCE Laughlin, R. B. 2004; 303 (5663): 1475-1477

    View details for Web of Science ID 000220000100026

    View details for PubMedID 15001764

  • Hiawatha's Valence Bonding Annals of Improbable Research Laughlin, R. B. 2004; 10 (6): 8
  • Emergent Relativity and the Physics of Black Hole Horizons Analog Models of General Relativity Chapline, G., Laughlin, R. B., Santiago, D. I. edited by Visser, M. Singapore: World Scientific. 2003
  • Emergent relativity International Symposium on Frontiers in Science Laughlin, R. B. WORLD SCIENTIFIC PUBL CO PTE LTD. 2003: 18–43
  • Truth, ownership, and scientific tradition PHYSICS TODAY Laughlin, R. B. 2002; 55 (12): 10-11
  • Coordinate representation of the one-spinon one-holon wave function and spinon-holon interaction PHYSICAL REVIEW B Bernevig, B. A., Giuliano, D., Laughlin, R. B. 2002; 65 (19)
  • The physical basis of computability COMPUTING IN SCIENCE & ENGINEERING Laughlin, R. B. 2002; 4 (3): 27-30
  • The quantum criticality conundrum ADVANCES IN PHYSICS Laughlin, R. B., Lonzarich, G. G., Monthoux, P., Pines, D. 2001; 50 (4): 361-365
  • Balanced branching in transcription termination PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Harrington, K. J., Laughlin, R. B., Liang, S. 2001; 98 (9): 5019-5024

    Abstract

    The theory of stochastic transcription termination based on free-energy competition [von Hippel, P. H. & Yager, T. D. (1992) Science 255, 809-812 and von Hippel, P. H. & Yager, T. D. (1991) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88, 2307-2311] requires two or more reaction rates to be delicately balanced over a wide range of physical conditions. A large body of work on glasses and large molecules suggests that this balancing should be impossible in such a large system in the absence of a new organizing principle of matter. We review the experimental literature of termination and find no evidence for such a principle, but do find many troubling inconsistencies, most notably, anomalous memory effects. These effects suggest that termination has a deterministic component and may conceivably not be stochastic at all. We find that a key experiment by Wilson and von Hippel [Wilson, K. S. & von Hippel, P. H. (1994) J. Mol. Biol. 244, 36-51] thought to demonstrate stochastic termination was an incorrectly analyzed regulatory effect of Mg(2+) binding.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000168311500041

    View details for PubMedID 11309513

  • Spinon attraction in spin-1/2 antiferromagnetic chains PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS Bernevig, B. A., Giuliano, D., Laughlin, R. B. 2001; 86 (15): 3392-3395

    Abstract

    We derive the representation of the two-spinon wave function for the Haldane-Shastry model in terms of the spinon coordinates. This result allows us to rigorously analyze spinon interaction and its physical effects. We show that spinons attract one another. The attraction gets stronger as the size of the system is increased and, in the thermodynamic limit, determines the power law with which the susceptibility diverges.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000168045700044

    View details for PubMedID 11327978

  • Hidden order in the cuprates PHYSICAL REVIEW B CHAKRAVARTY, S., Laughlin, R. B., Morr, D. K., Nayak, C. 2001; 63 (9)
  • Quantum phase transitions and the breakdown of classical general relativity PHILOSOPHICAL MAGAZINE B-PHYSICS OF CONDENSED MATTER STATISTICAL MECHANICS ELECTRONIC OPTICAL AND MAGNETIC PROPERTIES Chapline, G., Hohlfeld, E., Laughlin, R. B., Santiago, D. I. 2001; 81 (3): 235-254
  • The theory of everything PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Laughlin, R. B., Pines, D. 2000; 97 (1): 28-31

    Abstract

    We discuss recent developments in our understanding of matter, broadly construed, and their implications for contemporary research in fundamental physics.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000084624500008

    View details for PubMedID 10618365

  • The middle way PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Laughlin, R. B., Pines, D., Schmalian, J., Stojkovic, B. P., Wolynes, P. 2000; 97 (1): 32-37

    Abstract

    Mesoscopic organization in soft, hard, and biological matter is examined in the context of our present understanding of the principles responsible for emergent organized behavior (crystallinity, ferromagnetism, superconductivity, etc.) at long wavelengths in very large aggregations of particles. Particular attention is paid to the possibility that as-yet-undiscovered organizing principles might be at work at the mesoscopic scale, intermediate between atomic and macroscopic dimensions, and the implications of their discovery for biology and the physical sciences. The search for the existence and universality of such rules, the proof or disproof of organizing principles appropriate to the mesoscopic domain, is called the middle way.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000084624500009

    View details for PubMedID 10618366

  • Quantum number fractionalization in antiferromagnets Workshop with Learning on Field Theories for Low-Dimensional Condensed Matter Systems Laughlin, R. B., Giuliano, D., Caracciolo, R., White, O. L. SPRINGER-VERLAG BERLIN. 2000: 83–115
  • Differential light scattering: Probing the sonoluminescence collapse PHYSICAL REVIEW E Vacca, G., Morgan, R. D., Laughlin, R. B. 1999; 60 (6): R6303-R6306

    Abstract

    We have developed a light scattering technique based on differential measurement and polarization (differential light scattering, DLS) capable in principle of retrieving timing information with picosecond resolution without the need for fast electronics. DLS was applied to sonoluminescence, duplicating known results (sharp turnaround, self-similar collapse); the resolution was limited by intensity noise to about 0.5 ns. Preliminary evidence indicates a smooth turnaround on a less than approximately 0.5-ns time scale, and suggests the existence of subnanosecond features within a few nanoseconds of the turnaround.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000084600400013

    View details for PubMedID 11970620

  • Nobel Lecture: Fractional quantization REVIEWS OF MODERN PHYSICS Laughlin, R. B. 1999; 71 (4): 863-874
  • A critique of two metals ADVANCES IN PHYSICS Laughlin, R. B. 1998; 47 (6): 943-958
  • Magnetic induction of d(x2-y2)+id(xy) order in high-T-c superconductors PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS Laughlin, R. B. 1998; 80 (23): 5188-5191
  • Parallels Between Quantum Antiferromagnetism and the Strong Interactions Proceedings of the Inaugural Conference of the Asia-Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics Laughlin, R. B. edited by Cho, Y. M., Hong, J. B., Yang, C. N. Singapore: World Scientific. 1998
  • Evidence for quasiparticle decay in photoemission from underdoped cuprates PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS Laughlin, R. B. 1997; 79 (9): 1726-1729
  • Evidence for composite nature of quasiparticles in the 2D t-J model NUCLEAR PHYSICS B Beran, P., Poilblanc, D., Laughlin, R. B. 1996; 473 (3): 707-720
  • Evidence for electron decay in photoemission from Sr2CuO2Cl2 Conference on Spectroscopies in Novel Superconductors Laughlin, R. B. PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD. 1995: 1627–32
  • NUMERICAL EVIDENCE FOR ELECTRON DECAY IN THE 2-DIMENSIONAL T-J MODEL International Euroconference on Magnetic Correlations, Metal-Insulator-Transitions, and Superconductivity in Novel Materials Laughlin, R. B. SPRINGER/PLENUM PUBLISHERS. 1995: 443–66
  • FRACTIONAL VORTICES AS EVIDENCE OF TIME-REVERSAL SYMMETRY-BREAKING IN HIGH-TEMPERATURE SUPERCONDUCTORS PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS Sigrist, M., Bailey, D. B., Laughlin, R. B. 1995; 74 (16): 3249-3252
  • TUNNELING GAP AS EVIDENCE FOR TIME-REVERSAL SYMMETRY-BREAKING AT SURFACES OF HIGH-TEMPERATURE SUPERCONDUCTORS PHYSICA C-SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND ITS APPLICATIONS Laughlin, R. B. 1994; 234 (3-4): 280-284
  • RESPONSE FUNCTION OF THE T-J MODEL CALCULATED USING ANYON TECHNIQUES PHYSICAL REVIEW B TIKOFSKY, A. M., Laughlin, R. B. 1994; 50 (14): 10165-10189
  • SPIN SUSCEPTIBILITY AND GAP STRUCTURE OF THE FRACTIONAL-STATISTICS GAS PHYSICAL REVIEW B Levy, J. L., Laughlin, R. B. 1994; 50 (10): 7107-7123
  • TIME-REVERSAL SYMMETRY-BREAKING IN SUPERCONDUCTORS - A PROPOSED EXPERIMENTAL TEST PHYSICAL REVIEW B Beasley, M. R., Lew, D., Laughlin, R. B. 1994; 49 (17): 12330-12332
  • GAUGE-THEORY OF THE 3-DIMENSIONAL CHIRAL SPIN LIQUID NUCLEAR PHYSICS B TIKOFSKY, A. M., LIBBY, S. B., Laughlin, R. B. 1994; 413 (3): 579-604
  • D-WAVE SUPERCONDUCTIVITY WITH A GAP Conference on Strongly Correlated Electronic Materials: The Los Alamos Symposium 1993 Laughlin, R. B. ADDISON-WESLEY PUBL CO. 1994: 566–569
  • New Elementary Particles in Quantum Antiferromagnets and Their Potential Relevance to High-Temperature Superconductivity Modern Perspectives in Many-Body Physics: Proceedings of the 6th Physics Summer School Laughlin, R. B. edited by Das, M. P., Mahanty, J. Singapore: World Scientific. 1994
  • FRACTIONAL-STATISTICS GAS WITH SPIN AND STABILITY OF THE SUPERFLUID STATE PHYSICAL REVIEW B Beran, P., Laughlin, R. B. 1993; 48 (14): 10382-10390
  • COMPUTATION OF THE OPTICAL CONDUCTIVITY OF THE T-J MODEL USING ANYON TECHNIQUES PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS TIKOFSKY, A. M., Laughlin, R. B., Zou, Z. 1992; 69 (25): 3670-3673
  • QUANTUM-MECHANICS OF THE FRACTIONAL-STATISTICS GAS - RANDOM-PHASE APPROXIMATION PHYSICAL REVIEW B Dai, Q., Levy, J. L., Fetter, A. L., Hanna, C. B., Laughlin, R. B. 1992; 46 (9): 5642-5677
  • ABSENCE OF CIRCULAR-DICHROISM IN HIGH-TEMPERATURE SUPERCONDUCTORS PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS LAWRENCE, T. W., Szoke, A., Laughlin, R. B. 1992; 69 (9): 1439-1442
  • HOLE PROPAGATOR OF THE CHIRAL SPIN LIQUID PHYSICAL REVIEW B Laughlin, R. B. 1992; 45 (1): 400-414
  • MACROSCOPICALLY DOPED CHIRAL-SPIN-LIQUID STATE PHYSICAL REVIEW B Zou, Z., Levy, J. L., Laughlin, R. B. 1992; 45 (2): 993-1012
  • ANYONS AND SUPERCONDUCTIVITY - RANDOM PHASE APPROXIMATION INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MODERN PHYSICS B Fetter, A. L., Hanna, C. B., Laughlin, R. B. 1991; 5 (16-17): 2751-2790
  • CURRENT STATUS OF SEMIONIC PAIRING THEORY OF HIGH-TC SUPERCONDUCTORS WORKSHOP ON PHYSICS AND MATHEMATICS OF ANYONS Laughlin, R. B. WORLD SCIENTIFIC PUBL CO PTE LTD. 1991: 1507–19
  • NON-ABELIAN MONOPOLES IN THE 3-DIMENSIONAL CHIRAL SPIN LIQUID NUCLEAR PHYSICS B LIBBY, S. B., Zou, Z., Laughlin, R. B. 1991; 348 (3): 693-713
  • QUANTUM-MECHANICS OF THE FRACTIONAL-STATISTICS GAS - PARTICLE-HOLE INTERACTION PHYSICAL REVIEW B Hanna, C. B., Laughlin, R. B., Fetter, A. L. 1991; 43 (1): 309-319
  • CHARGED EXCITATIONS OF THE CHIRAL SPIN LIQUID PHYSICAL REVIEW B Zou, Z., Laughlin, R. B. 1990; 42 (7): 4073-4079
  • Fractional Statistics in the Quantum Hall Effect Fractional Statistics and Anyon Superconductivity Laughlin, R. B. edited by Wilzcek, F. Singapore: World Scientific. 1990: 262
  • QUANTUM-MECHANICS OF THE FRACTIONAL-STATISTICS GAS - HARTREE-FOCK APPROXIMATION PHYSICAL REVIEW B Hanna, C. B., Laughlin, R. B., Fetter, A. L. 1989; 40 (13): 8745-8758
  • THEORY OF THE SPIN LIQUID-STATE OF THE HEISENBERG-ANTIFERROMAGNET PHYSICAL REVIEW B KALMEYER, V., Laughlin, R. B. 1989; 39 (16): 11879-11899
  • RANDOM-PHASE APPROXIMATION IN THE FRACTIONAL-STATISTICS GAS PHYSICAL REVIEW B Fetter, A. L., Hanna, C. B., Laughlin, R. B. 1989; 39 (13): 9679-9681
  • SPIN HAMILTONIAN FOR WHICH QUANTUM HALL WAVEFUNCTION IS EXACT ANNALS OF PHYSICS Laughlin, R. B. 1989; 191 (1): 163-202
  • Fractional Quantization in High-Temperature Superconductivity Mechanisms of High-Temperature Superconductivity Laughlin, R. B. edited by Kamimura, H., Oshiyama, A. Heidelberg: Springer. 1989: 76
  • Fractional Statistics in the Quantum Hall Effect Two-Dimensional Strongly Correlated Electron Systems Laughlin, R. B. edited by Gan, Z., Sun, Z. London: Gordon and Breach. 1989: 199
  • THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HIGH-TEMPERATURE SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND THE FRACTIONAL QUANTUM HALL-EFFECT SCIENCE Laughlin, R. B. 1988; 242 (4878): 525-533

    Abstract

    The case is made that the spin-liquid state of a Mott insulator, hypothesized to exist by Anderson and identified by him as the correct context for discussing high-temperature superconductors, occurs in these materials and exhibits the principles of fractional quantization identified in the fractional quantum Hall effect. The most important of these is that particles carrying a fraction of an elementary quantum number, in this case spin, attract one another by a powerful gauge force, which can lead to a new kind of superconductivity. The temperature scale for the superconductivity is set by an energy gap in the spin-wave spectrum, which is also the fundamental measure of how "liquid" the spins are.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1988Q634500026

    View details for PubMedID 17815892

  • SUPERCONDUCTING GROUND-STATE OF NONINTERACTING PARTICLES OBEYING FRACTIONAL STATISTICS PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS Laughlin, R. B. 1988; 60 (25): 2677-2680
  • EQUIVALENCE OF THE RESONATING-VALENCE-BOND AND FRACTIONAL QUANTUM HALL STATES PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS KALMEYER, V., Laughlin, R. B. 1987; 59 (18): 2095-2098
  • DIFFERENTIAL CONDUCTANCE IN 3-DIMENSIONAL RESONANT TUNNELING PHYSICAL REVIEW B KALMEYER, V., Laughlin, R. B. 1987; 35 (18): 9805-9808
  • POSITRONIUM TIME-OF-FLIGHT SPECTROSCOPY OF DISSIMILAR METALS PHYSICAL REVIEW B Howell, R. H., ROSENBERG, I. J., Fluss, M. J., Goldberg, R. E., Laughlin, R. B. 1987; 35 (10): 5303-5306
  • Dilute Fermi Liquid of Polarons in Copper Oxide Superconductors Novel Superconductivity Laughlin, R. B., Hanna, C. B. edited by Wolf, S. A., Kresin, V. Z. New York: Plenum. 1987: 553
  • Electrical Resistivity as Quantum Chaos Chaos '87: International Conference on the Physics of Chaos and Systems Far from Equilibrium Laughlin, R. B. edited by Duong-Van, M. Amsterdam: North-Holland. 1987: 213
  • Elemental Theory: The Incompressible Quantum Fluid The Quantum Hall Effect Laughlin, R. B. edited by Prange, R. E., Girvin, S. M. New York: Springer. 1987: 233
  • MECHANISM OF CURRENT MODULATION BY OPTIC PHONONS IN HETEROJUNCTION TUNNELING EXPERIMENTS PHYSICAL REVIEW B Hanna, C. B., Hellman, E. S., Laughlin, R. B. 1986; 34 (8): 5475-5483
  • OSCILLATIONS IN THE CURRENT-VOLTAGE CHARACTERISTICS OF GAAS-ALGAAS TUNNEL-JUNCTIONS PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS Hanna, C. B., Laughlin, R. B. 1986; 56 (23): 2547-2547
  • DESTRUCTION OF THE FRACTIONAL QUANTUM HALL-EFFECT BY DISORDER SURFACE SCIENCE Laughlin, R. B. 1986; 170 (1-2): 167-172
  • TEMPERATURE-DEPENDENCE OF INTERATOMIC FORCES IN THE THOMAS-FERMI APPROXIMATION PHYSICAL REVIEW A Laughlin, R. B. 1986; 33 (1): 510-518
  • ONE DIMENSIONAL POLARON EFFECTS AND CURRENT INHOMOGENEITIES IN SEQUENTIAL PHONON EMISSION PHYSICA B & C Hellman, E. S., Harris, J. S., Hanna, C. B., Laughlin, R. B. 1985; 134 (1-3): 41-46
  • SCALING OF CONDUCTIVITIES IN THE FRACTIONAL QUANTUM HALL-EFFECT PHYSICAL REVIEW B Laughlin, R. B., Cohen, M. L., KOSTERLITZ, J. M., Levine, H., LIBBY, S. B., Pruisken, A. M. 1985; 32 (2): 1311-1314
  • Quasiparticle Aggregation in the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on the Physics of Semiconductors Laughlin, R. B. edited by Chadi, D. J., Harrison, W. A. New York: Springer. 1985: 255
  • Fractional Quantization of the Hall Conductance Two-Dimensional Systems, Heterostructures and Superlattices Laughlin, R. B. edited by Bauer, G., Kuchar, F., Heinrich, H. Heidelberg: Springer. 1984: 285
  • PRIMITIVE AND COMPOSITE GROUND-STATES IN THE FRACTIONAL QUANTUM HALL-EFFECT SURFACE SCIENCE Laughlin, R. B. 1984; 142 (1-3): 163-172
  • LEVITATION OF EXTENDED-STATE BANDS IN A STRONG MAGNETIC-FIELD PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS Laughlin, R. B. 1984; 52 (25): 2304-2304
  • EXCITONS IN THE FRACTIONAL QUANTUM HALL-EFFECT PHYSICA B & C Laughlin, R. B. 1984; 126 (1-3): 254-259
  • The Gauge Argument for Accurate Quantization of the Hall Conductance Two-Dimensional Systems, Heterostructures and Superlattices Laughlin, R. B. edited by Bauer, G., Kuchar, F., Heinrich, H. Heidelberg: Springer. 1984: 272
  • QUANTIZED MOTION OF 3 TWO-DIMENSIONAL ELECTRONS IN A STRONG MAGNETIC-FIELD PHYSICAL REVIEW B Laughlin, R. B. 1983; 27 (6): 3383-3389
  • ANOMALOUS QUANTUM HALL-EFFECT - AN INCOMPRESSIBLE QUANTUM FLUID WITH FRACTIONALLY CHARGED EXCITATIONS PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS Laughlin, R. B. 1983; 50 (18): 1395-1398
  • HELIUM DIFFRACTION FROM THE GAAS(110) SURFACE AND THE GENERATION OF HELIUM-SURFACE POTENTIALS PHYSICAL REVIEW B Laughlin, R. B. 1982; 25 (4): 2222-2247
  • UNIVERSAL BEHAVIOR IN THE ELECTRICAL-CONDUCTIVITY OF STRONG-SCATTERING EXPANDED FLUID METALS PHYSICAL REVIEW B Laughlin, R. B. 1982; 26 (12): 7019-7022
  • EXCHANGE THEORY OF RESISTIVITY SATURATION PHYSICAL REVIEW B Laughlin, R. B. 1982; 26 (6): 3479-3482
  • QUANTIZED HALL CONDUCTIVITY IN 2 DIMENSIONS PHYSICAL REVIEW B Laughlin, R. B. 1981; 23 (10): 5632-5633
  • OPTICAL-ABSORPTION EDGE OF SIO2 PHYSICAL REVIEW B Laughlin, R. B. 1980; 22 (6): 3021-3029