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As a child, Leonard was interested in mathematics, chemistry and organic chemistry. His interest turned to physics during a semester he took off from college to spend on a kibbutz in Israel, during which he had little to do at night beside reading The Feynman Lectures on Physics.
While a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, and on the faculty at Caltech, he co-developed a new type of perturbation theory for eigenvalue problems in quantum mechanics. Later, he did pioneering work on the quantum theory of dielectric media.
Between 2008 and 2010, Mlodinow worked on a book with Stephen Hawking, entitled "The Grand Design." Apart from his research and books on popular science, he has been a screenwriter for television series, including Star Trek: The Next Generation and MacGyver.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx