Biography

Leonard Mlodinow is a theoretical physicist and author, recognized for groundbreaking discoveries in physics, and as the author of five best-selling books.

Dr. Mlodinow started his college education at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., in 1972, but dropped out when the Yom Kippur War began in the Fall of 1973 and traveled to Israel to work on a kibbutz. He returned to Brandeis the next school year and graduated in 1976 with a double major in math and physics, and a Master's degree in physics. He was also one course short of a third major, in chemistry, which had been his childhood love, but which he abandoned for physics after reading some of Richard Feynman’s books that were the only English books in the kibbutz library. In 1981 he received his PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of California at Berkeley. His advisor was Eyvind Wichmann, who worked on axiomatic quantum field theory. After graduating Mlodinow was Bantrell Research Fellow in Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology, and then became an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Physics and Astrophysics in Munich, Germany. In this period he was interested in quantum field theories inside dielectrics. At the time, people created quantum theories of electromagnetic interactions in dielectrics by simply carrying over certain mathematical constructs from the vacuum, or empty-space, theory. With Mark Hillery, he showed that this is incorrect, and developed the correct procedure. Mlodinow eventually returned to Caltech, to teach, while continuing to write books.