Leonard Susskind (born January 1, 1940) is an American physicist, who is a professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University, and founding director of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics. His research interests include string theory, quantum field theory, quantum statistical mechanics and quantum cosmology. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an associate member of the faculty of Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and a distinguished professor of the Korea Institute for Advanced Study.
Susskind is widely regarded as one of the fathers of string theory. He was the first to give a precise string-theoretic interpretation of the holographic principle in 1995 and the first to introduce the idea of the string theory landscape in 2003.
- The standard SU(3)×SU(2)×U(1) theory of strong, electromagnetic, and weak interactions appears to correctly describe physics down to the smallest distance scales yet probed.
- (Jokingly) Sex in ten dimensions is impossible... topologically.
- Lecture "Cosmic landscape and illusion of intelligent design", DESY Hamburg (28 September, 2006).
- The problem with general relativity is that the principles are pretty simple and the computations are always ugly.
- General Relativity Lecture 5, YouTube, published 30 October 2012 (quote at 1:21:46 of 1:39:06)
- Elegance requires that the number of defining equations be small. Five is better than ten, and one is better than five. On this score, one might facetiously say that String Theory is the ultimate epitome of elegance. With all the years that String Theory has been studied, no one has found even a single defining equation! The number at present count is zero. We know neither what the fundamental equations of the theory are nor even if it has any.
- The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design. Little, Brown. 2008.
- My physics has been extremely mainstream, ... It's not true that I'm some sort of a [radical thinker], not at all.
- During an interview with Y Combinator - Published on Dec 6, 2018.
Quotes about Susskind
- ... Lenny Susskind ... is very well known for his technical work, for his popular work, for his semi-technical books, The Theoretical Minimum, and, within the physics community, as a storyteller, a mentor, and a guiding visionary of the field.
- Sean M. Carroll, Episode 45: Leonard Susskind on Quantum Information, Quantum Gravity, and Holography. YouTube (6 May 2019).
- Dozens of other popular authors have written about black holes and string theory, but Gefter’s excitement makes even such overdone subjects seem fresh. And through the whole process, she and her father remain awed by the physicists whose work they’re studying—late in the book, her father even asks Susskind for an autograph.