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Leonard  Mlodinow

Leonard Mlodinow

Physicist / Author


Leonard Mlodinow, co-author with Stephen Hawking on the latest best-seller The Grand Design, explores the four-year effort to answer the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. He explains why, according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. He questions the conventional concept of reality, posing instead a “model-dependent” theory of reality. He discusses how the laws of our particular universe are extraordinarily finely tuned so as to allow for our existence, and show why quantum theory predicts the multiverse – the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature. And he assesses M-Theory, an explanation of the laws governing the multiverse, and the only viable candidate for a complete “theory of everything.” Read More >

Mlodinow received his doctorate in physics from the University of California-Berkeley, was an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Max Planck Institute, and now teaches about randomness to future scientists at Caltech. Along the way he also wrote for the television series MacGyver, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the comedy series Night Court. He is also a producer, executive producer, and designer of several award-winning video games created in conjunction with Stephen Spielberg, Robin Williams, and the Walt Disney Company. Between 1997 and 2003, Mlodinow was vice president for software development and then vice president and publisher for math education at Scholastic Inc. His previous books include Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace, Feynman's Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life, and, with Stephen Hawking, A Briefer History of Time.

In his acclaimed book The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, Mlodinow shows us how randomness, change, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious cases, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Leonard Mlodinow on Larry King

Speech at Google

Speech Topics

The Grand Design

When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Leonard Mlodinow, the physicist/author behind The Drunkard’s Walk, explores his collaborative work with Stephen Hawking in their #1 bestseller, The Grand Design. Created for any lay audience, this speech presents the most recent scientific thinking about the mysteries of the cosmos, and describes the current theories of the fundamental forces of nature and the origin and evolution of the universe Read More >

In a very interesting, detailed, thought provoking and often humorous way, Mlodinow discusses why some of life’s biggest questions can be answered by science and scientific theory, including: Why is there something rather than nothing? Is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion – or does science offer another explanation? The theories he expounds upon are sometimes old and sometimes groundbreakingly new, but all will either surprise you, educate you, or both. This is a presentation that is not to be missed. Read Less ^

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

This irreverent and illuminating presentation explores how random events shape the world and how human intuition fights that fact. Although Mlodinow explains that things are more random than people realize, his talk is not about giving up due to that, but rather, about how to avoid being misled by randomness. Read More >

Although our brains naturally want to see patterns and order, life doesn’t necessarily work like that. Mlodinow shares how an understanding of randomness reveals a tremendous amount about our daily lives, our investments and our business decisions. He analyzes examples from business and the financial markets, revealing how successes and failures are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance. 

As he discusses the basics of probability and statistics, Mlodinow provides wonderful illustrations from fields as wide-ranging as sports, medicine, psychology and the stock market. Clear, accessible, very friendly, engaging and often very witty, this speech can be enjoyed by absolutely everyone (including the math-phobic) with the aim of changing the way people view their lives, their business dealings and the world around them.

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Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior

Everyday we make personal, financial and business decisions, confident that we have properly weighed all the important factors and acted accordingly — and that we know how we came to those decisions. But in recent years it has become increasingly clear that the way we experience the world — our perceptions, behavior, memory and social judgment — is largely driven by the mind's subliminal processes and not by the conscious ones, as we have long believed. Although our unconscious mind thus plays a critical role in our perceptions, feelings and thoughts, we are unaware of its influence. As a result, our view of ourselves, our motivations and society is like a puzzle with most of the pieces missing. Read More >

In this talk Mlodinow will explore how the past two decades of revolutionary neurological research shows that our view of ourselves is far less accurate than we may believe, creating a new, modern understanding of the commanding role the unconscious mind plays in our conscious thoughts. Presenting vivid interactive demonstrations and striking examples, he will discuss some of the many ways the unconscious mind influences how we misperceive our relationships with family, friends, and business associates; and how we misremember important events — along the way, changing our view of ourselves and the world around us. Read Less ^

Combatting Cognitive Illusions & Mental Barriers for Optimal Decision-Making

By overcoming cognitive illusions and mental barriers, Mlodinow believes anyone can obtain optimal risk assessment and decision-making. Focusing on psychological barriers and barriers arising from misguided intuition about probabilities and chance, he begins his talk with interactive exercises that will illustrate how the brain constructs reality from the data it takes in, rather than simply recording it.  Read More >

Mlodinow addresses a range of barriers that affect us all, such as how the presentation of facts, or added detail, can influence the perception of likelihood or truth; how people have great trouble accurately judging the risk or probability of certain events; how the memory works, why people can have clear memories of things that didn’t happen, or didn’t happen as they recall; and how and why people have trouble objectively assessing data or situations when they would prefer a certain conclusion. Providing expert tips on taking control and achieving desired outcomes, Mlodinow shares how understanding our behaviors in relation to our brains can result in more productive negotiations and decisions. Read Less ^