Big Ideas Reading Group

  • Kepler's 1010 El Camino Real Menlo Park, CA

A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down by Robert Laughlin

In this age of superstring theories and Big Bang cosmology, we're used to thinking of the unknown as impossibly distant from our everyday lives. But in A Different Universe, Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin argues that the scientific frontier is right under our fingers. Instead of looking for ultimate theories, Laughlin considers the world of emergent properties-meaning the properties, such as the hardness and shape of a crystal, that result from the organization of large numbers of atoms. He shows us how the most fundamental laws of physics are in fact emergent. A Different Universe is a truly mind-bending book that shows us why everything we think about fundamental physical laws needs to change.