He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from University of California Berkeley in 1972, and his Doctor of Philosophy in physics in 1979 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Between 2004 and 2006 he served as the president of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon, South of Korea. In 1983, Laughlin was first to provide a many body wave function, now known as the Laughlin wavefunction, for the fractional quantum hall effect, which was able to correctly explain the fractionalized charge observed in experiments. This state has since been interpreted to be a Bose–Einstein condensate.
Laughlin"s view of climate change is that it may be important, but the future is impossible to change.
He writes "The geologic record suggests that climate ought not to concern us too much when we’re gazing into the energy future, not because it"s unimportant, but because it"s beyond our power to control.".
National Academy of Sciences.