David Mermin

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
(Redirected from Mermin)
Jump to: navigation, search
David Mermin
Mermin Stockholm 2009.jpg
N. David Mermin
Born 30 March 1935
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
Residence USA
Fields Physicist
Institutions Cornell University
University of California, San Diego
University of Birmingham
Alma mater Harvard University
Known for Mermin–Wagner theorem
Mermin–Ho relation
Lindhard–Mermin dielectric function
Coining the term 'boojum'
Mermin–Peres magic square
Notable awards Lilienfeld Prize (1989)
National Academy of Sciences (1991)
Klopsteg Memorial Award (1994)
Majorana Prize (2010)

Nathaniel David Mermin (/ˈmɜːrmɪn/; born 1935) is a solid-state physicist at Cornell University best known for the eponymous Mermin–Wagner theorem, his application of the term "Boojum" to superfluidity, and for the quote "Shut up and calculate!"

Together with Neil Ashcroft, Mermin has written an esteemed textbook, Solid State Physics.[1] Mermin is a proponent of Quantum Bayesianism. [2]

Mermin has published about 130 technical scientific articles, 20 pedagogical articles for scientists, 25 articles for the general reader, 35 book reviews, and 30 opinion pieces in Physics Today.

Mermin’s foot

Mermin has contributed to special relativity with two books and several articles. In It's About Time (2005) he suggests that the English foot (0.3048 meters) be slightly modified:

Henceforth, by 1 foot we shall mean the distance light travels in a nanosecond. A foot, if you will, is a light nanosecond (and a nanosecond, even more nicely, can be viewed as a light foot). …If it offends you to redefine the foot … then you may define 0.299792458 meters to be 1 phoot, and think "phoot" (conveniently evocative of the Greek φωτος, "light") whenever you read "foot".[3]

This adaptation of a physical unit is one of several ploys that Mermin uses to draw students into space-time geometry.


  1. Ashcroft, Mermin 1976.
  2. http://www.nature.com/news/physics-qbism-puts-the-scientist-back-into-science-1.14912
  3. It's About Time, page 22


External links