Frasi di Robert Laughlin

Robert Laughlin foto
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Robert Laughlin

Data di nascita: 1. Novembre 1950

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Robert Betts Laughlin è un fisico statunitense.

Frasi Robert Laughlin

„Le principali glaciazioni sono esempi spettacolari del cambiamento climatico naturale, che si è verificato durante le ere geologiche. Hanno avuto luogo a intervalli regolari di 100 mila anni e hanno sempre seguito lo stesso strano modello di sviluppo: lento e costante raffreddamento, seguito da un brusco riscaldamento in condizioni simili a quelle di oggi. [... ] I grandi episodi di glaciazione non sono stati gli unici casi di cambiamento climatico naturale, tuttavia. Sei milioni di anni fa, il Mar Mediterraneo venne prosciugato. Novanta milioni di anni fa, alligatori e tartarughe facevano le capriole nell'Artico. Centocinquanta milioni di anni fa gli oceani avevano invaso il centro del Nord America, contribuendo a preservare le ossa di dinosauro. Trecento milioni di anni fa, l'Europa settentrionale venne trasformata in un deserto bruciato e nell'Antartide si formò il carbone. [... ] Nessuno sa perché questi drammatici cambiamenti climatici siano avvenuti nel passato. Le idee che comunemente emergono, comprendono: – perturbazioni dell'orbita terrestre da parte di altri pianeti, interruzioni di correnti oceaniche, l'aumento e la diminuzione di gas a effetto serra, il riflesso del calore sulla neve, la deriva dei continenti, gli impatti di comete, la Genesi, le alluvioni, i vulcani, i lenti cambiamenti nella radiazione del sole. Nessun supporto scientificamente solido è stato trovato, in nessuno di questi suggerimenti. Una cosa che sappiamo per certo è che le persone non sono state coinvolte. Non c'erano abbastanza persone in giro per poter contare, durante le glaciazioni, e non c'erano proprio persone, prima di tali episodi. La storia della geologia, come la conosciamo, ci suggerisce che il clima è una cosa molto più grande dell'energia. L'approvvigionamento energetico è una questione di ingegneria e dobbiamo tenere d'occhio i problemi che possono renderlo più difficoltoso, mano a mano che il tempo passa. Il cambiamento climatico, al contrario, è una questione di tempi geologici, qualcosa che la Terra fa abitualmente da sola, senza chiedere il permesso a nessuno e senza spiegare perché. La Terra non include gli effetti potenzialmente catastrofici della civiltà nella sua pianificazione. Lungi dall'essere responsabile di danneggiare il clima della Terra, la civiltà non potrebbe essere in grado di prevenire nessuno di questi terribili cambiamenti una volta che la Terra abbia deciso di compierli. È stata la Terra a congelare di nuovo il Canada, per esempio, è difficile immaginare di poter fare qualcosa, se non vendere la casa che eventualmente abbiamo la. Se la Terra decide di sciogliere la Groenlandia, potrebbe essere saggio vendere tutto quello che possediamo in Bangladesh. La storia geologica ci suggerisce che il clima non dovrebbe preoccuparci troppo quando stiamo pensando al futuro dell'energia, non perché sia poco importante, ma perché è oltre il nostro potere di controllo.“

— Robert Laughlin

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„I later came to understand that this heckling was a sign of respect from these people, that the ability to handle it was a test of a person's worth, and that polite silence from them was an extremely bad sign, amounting to Pauli's famous criticism that the speaker was "not even wrong."“

— Robert B. Laughlin
Context: Bell Labs had been a kind of holy place of solid state physics since the 1950's when it was built up by Shockley after the invention of the transistor. I had no idea at the time of the significance of this placement, but I did notice during my job talk that everybody understood what I was saying immediately — this had never happened before — and that the audience had an irresistible urge to interrupt, heckle, and argue about the subject matter loudly among themselves during the talk so as to lob hand grenades into it, just like back-benchers do in the House of Commons. Being a combative person I rather liked this and lobbed a few grenades of my own to maintain control of my seminar. I later came to understand that this heckling was a sign of respect from these people, that the ability to handle it was a test of a person's worth, and that polite silence from them was an extremely bad sign, amounting to Pauli's famous criticism that the speaker was "not even wrong."

„The most interesting thing I learned during this time was how small a nuclear warhead was.“

— Robert B. Laughlin
Context: Oklahoma is laid back and rather beautiful, with rolling brown hills not unlike the ones in California. The Pershing missiles, on the other hand, were not beautiful. They were horrible weapons of war — solid-fuel rockets five feet in diameter at the base, long as a moving van, and capable of throwing a tactical nuclear warhead 500 miles. They were launched from trucks and required a team of 10 men to service and fire. The most interesting thing I learned during this time was how small a nuclear warhead was. The nose cone of a Pershing is only about 18 inches in diameter at the base. I had not been interested at all in nuclear weaponry as a student, and so I had never thought through carefully about their "efficiency". It is sobering thought that these missiles were actually deployed in continental Europe in those days and that on at least one occasion, namely the 1973 Arab-Israel war, there was an alert serious enough to leave the commanding officers trembling. On his experiences in the military during his training on how to fire Pershing missiles.

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„Real understanding of a thing comes from taking it apart oneself, not reading about it in a book or hearing about it in a classroom.“

— Robert B. Laughlin
Context: Real understanding of a thing comes from taking it apart oneself, not reading about it in a book or hearing about it in a classroom. To this day I always insist on working out a problem from the beginning without reading up on it first, a habit that sometimes gets me into trouble but just as often helps me see things my predecessors have missed.

„I slowly became disillusioned with the reductionist ideal of physics, for it was completely clear that the outcome of these experiments was almost always impossible to predict from first principles, yet was right and meaningful and certainly regulated by the same microscopic laws that work in atoms.“

— Robert B. Laughlin
Context: I learned about X-ray diffraction, neutron scattering, raman scattering, infrared absorption spectroscopy, heat capacity, transport, time-dependent transport, magnetic resonance, electron diffraction, electron energy loss spectroscopy — all the experimental techniques that constitute the eyes and ears of modern solid state physics. As this occurred I slowly became disillusioned with the reductionist ideal of physics, for it was completely clear that the outcome of these experiments was almost always impossible to predict from first principles, yet was right and meaningful and certainly regulated by the same microscopic laws that work in atoms. Only many years later did I finally understand that this truth, which seems so natural to solid state physicists because they confront experiments so frequently, is actually quite alien to other branches of physics and is vigorously repudiated by many scientists on the grounds that things not amenable to reductionist thinking are not physics. On his education at MIT.

„It is sobering thought that these missiles were actually deployed in continental Europe in those days and that on at least one occasion, namely the 1973 Arab-Israel war, there was an alert serious enough to leave the commanding officers trembling.“

— Robert B. Laughlin
Context: Oklahoma is laid back and rather beautiful, with rolling brown hills not unlike the ones in California. The Pershing missiles, on the other hand, were not beautiful. They were horrible weapons of war — solid-fuel rockets five feet in diameter at the base, long as a moving van, and capable of throwing a tactical nuclear warhead 500 miles. They were launched from trucks and required a team of 10 men to service and fire. The most interesting thing I learned during this time was how small a nuclear warhead was. The nose cone of a Pershing is only about 18 inches in diameter at the base. I had not been interested at all in nuclear weaponry as a student, and so I had never thought through carefully about their "efficiency". It is sobering thought that these missiles were actually deployed in continental Europe in those days and that on at least one occasion, namely the 1973 Arab-Israel war, there was an alert serious enough to leave the commanding officers trembling. On his experiences in the military during his training on how to fire Pershing missiles.

„The world is full of intelligent, well-meaning people who, for one reason or another, did not attend university but are nonetheless well-read and educated.“

— Robert B. Laughlin
Context: The world is full of intelligent, well-meaning people who, for one reason or another, did not attend university but are nonetheless well-read and educated. Out there on the prairie lost opportunities of youth were the rule rather than the exception, and I slowly became disabused of the myth of the Bright Young Thing and have not believed in it since.

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