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Leonard Mlodinow

Geburtstag: 1954

Leonard Mlodinow ist ein US-amerikanischer Physiker und Autor.

Während seiner Promotion an der University of California, Berkeley sowie am California Institute of Technology entwickelte er eine neue Art der Störungstheorie für Eigenwert-Probleme in der Quantenmechanik. Später erhielt er ein Stipendium der Alexander-von-Humboldt-Stiftung und arbeitete am Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik in Garching bei München, wo er zusammen mit Mark Hillery grundlegende Forschung zur Quantentheorie von dielektrischen Stoffen betrieb. Zurzeit ist Leonard Mlodinow Gastdozent am Caltech.

Neben seiner physikalischen Forschung und populärwissenschaftlichen Veröffentlichungen hat Mlodinow auch Drehbücher für verschiedene Fernsehserien wie Raumschiff Enterprise: Das nächste Jahrhundert und MacGyver sowie zusammen mit Matt Costello eine Kinderbuchserie verfasst.

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„Jede Generation von Physikern hat ihre Leitfiguren. In den Jahrzehnten vor der String-Theorie waren es Gell-Mann und Feynman. In den letzten Jahrzehnten war es Edward Witten.“ Das Fenster zum Universum. Eine kleine Geschichte der Geometrie. Übersetzer: Carl Freytag. Campus Verlag 2002, ISBN 3-593-36931-1, Seite 265.

„Der in der Schule übliche Einstieg in die Geometrie ist dazu angetan, das Hirn eines jungen Menschen in Stein zu verwandeln.“ Das Fenster zum Universum. Eine kleine Geschichte der Geometrie. Übersetzer: Carl Freytag. Campus Verlag 2002, ISBN 3-593-36931-1, Seite 14.


„Perception requires imagination because the data people encounter in their lives are never complete and always equivocal. For example, most people consider that the greatest evidence of an event one can obtain is to see it with their own eyes, and in a court of law little is held in more esteem than eyewitness testimony. Yet if you asked to display for a court a video of the same quality as the unprocessed data catptured on the retina of a human eye, the judge might wonder what you were tryig to put over. For one thing, the view will have a blind spot where the optic nerve attaches to the retina. Moreover, the only part of our field of vision with good resolution is a narrow area of about 1 degree of visual angle around the retina’s center, an area the width of our thumb as it looks when held at arm’s length. Outside that region, resolution drops off sharply. To compensate, we constantly move our eyes to bring the sharper region to bear on different portions of the scene we wish to observe. And so the pattern of raw data sent to the brain is a shaky, badly pixilated picture with a hole in it. Fortunately the brain processes the data, combining input from both eyes, filling in gaps on the assumption that the visual properties of neighboring locations are similar and interpolating. The result - at least until age, injury, disease, or an excess of mai tais takes its toll - is a happy human being suffering from the compelling illusion that his or her vision is sharp and clear.

We also use our imagination and take shortcuts to fill gaps in patterns of nonvisual data. As with visual input, we draw conclusions and make judgments based on uncertain and incomplete information, and we conclude, when we are done analyzing the patterns, that out “picture” is clear and accurate. But is it?“
The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

„The cord that tethers ability to success is both loose and elastic. It is easy to see fine qualities in successful books or to see unpublished manuscripts, inexpensive vodkas, or people struggling in any field as somehow lacking. It is easy to believe that ideas that worked were good ideas, that plans that succeeded were well designed, and that ideas and plans that did not were ill conceived. And it is easy to make heroes out of the most successful and to glance with disdain at the least. But ability does not guarantee achievement, nor is achievement proportional to ability. And so it is important to always keep in mind the other term in the equation—the role of chance…What I’ve learned, above all, is to keep marching forward because the best news is that since chance does play a role, one important factor in success is under our control: the number of at bats, the number of chances taken, the number of opportunities seized.“ The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

„Another mistaken notion connected with the law of large numbers is the idea that an event is more or less likely to occur because it has or has not happened recently. The idea that the odds of an event with a fixed probability increase or decrease depending on recent occurrences of the event is called the gambler's fallacy. For example, if Kerrich landed, say, 44 heads in the first 100 tosses, the coin would not develop a bias towards the tails in order to catch up! That's what is at the root of such ideas as "her luck has run out" and "He is due." That does not happen. For what it's worth, a good streak doesn't jinx you, and a bad one, unfortunately, does not mean better luck is in store.“ The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

„We all understand that genius doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s seductive to assume that success must come from genius.“ The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

„Science has revealed a universe that is vast, ancient, violent, strange, and beautiful, a universe of almost infinite variety and possibility one in which time can end in a black hole, and conscious beings can evolve from a soup of minerals.“

„We unfortunately seem to be unconsciously biased against those in the society who come out on the bottom.“ The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives


„The first step in battling the illusion of control is to be aware of if. But even then it is difficult, once we think we see a pattern, we do not easily let go of our perception.“ The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

„Research suggests when it comes to understanding our feelings, we humans have an odd mix of low ability and high confidence.“ Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior

„We believe that when we choose anything, judge a stranger and even fall in love, we understand the principal factors that influenced us. Very often nothing could be further from the truth. As a result, many of our most basic assumptions about ourselves, and society, are false.“

„For while anyone can sit back and point to the bottom line as justification, assessing instead a person's actual knowledge and actual ability takes confidence, thought, good judgement, and, well, guts. You can't just stand up in a meeting with your colleagues and yell, "Don't fire her. She was just on the wrong end of a Bernoulli series." Nor is it likely to win you friends if you stand up and say of the gloating fellow who just sold more Toyota Camrys than anyone else in the history of the dealership, "It was just a random fluctuation.“ The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives


„We judge people and initiatives by their results, and we expect events to happen for good, understandable reason. But our clear visions of inevitability are often only illusions.“ The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

„Says Bargh: „We all hold dear idea that we´re the captain of our own sould, and we´re in charge, and it´s a very scary feeling when we are not. In fact, that´s what psychosis is – the feeling of detachment from reality and that you are not in control, and that´s a very frightening feeling for anyone.“ Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior

„People have a basic desire to feel good about themselves, and we therefore have a tendency to be unconsciously biased in favor of traits similiar to our won, even such seemingly meaningless traits as our names. Scientists have even identified a discrete area of the brain, called the dorsal striatum, as the structure that mediates much of this bias.“ Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior

„When we are in the grasp of illusion – or, for that matter, whenever we have a new idea – instead of searching for ways to prove our ideas wrong, we usually attempt to prove them correct. Psychologists call this the confirmation bias, and it presents a major impediment of our ability to break free from the misinterpretation of randomness.“ The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

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