Adam Becker - What is Real? - Hodder & Stoughton

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781473661349
    • Publication date:31 May 2018
  • Downloadable audio file £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781473675568
    • Publication date:31 May 2018

What is Real?

The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics

By Adam Becker

  • Hardback
  • £25.00

The untold story of the heretical thinkers who challenged the establishment to rethink quantum physics and the nature of reality

Every physicist agrees quantum mechanics is among humanity's finest scientific achievements. But ask what it means, and the result will be a brawl. For a century, most physicists have followed Niels Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation and dismissed questions about the reality underlying quantum physics as meaningless. A mishmash of solipsism and poor reasoning, Copenhagen endured, as Bohr's students vigorously protected his legacy, and the physics community favoured practical experiments over philosophical arguments. As a result, questioning the status quo long meant professional ruin. And yet, from the 1920s to today, physicists like John Bell, David Bohm, and Hugh Everett persisted in seeking the true meaning of quantum mechanics. What is Real? is the gripping story of this battle of ideas and the courageous scientists who dared to stand up for truth.

Biographical Notes

Adam Becker is a science writer with a PhD in astrophysics and an undergraduate degree in philosophy. His writing has appeared in the BBC and New Scientist. He has recorded a video series with the BBC and several podcasts with the Story Collider. He is also a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley's Office for History of Science and Technology. He lives in Oakland, CA.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781473661356
  • Publication date: 31 May 2018
  • Page count: 384
  • Imprint: John Murray
A thorough, illuminating exploration of the most consequential controversy raging in modern science . . . Becker leads us through an impressive account of the rise of competing interpretations, grounding them in the human stories, which are naturally messy and full of contingencies. He makes a convincing case that it's wrong to imagine the Copenhagen interpretation as a single official or even coherent statement — New York Times
[A] fresh debut . . . Vivid biographical portraits enliven even dense theoretical explanations with wit and bite . . . With his crisp voice, Becker lucidly relates the complicated history of quantum foundations — Publishers Weekly, starred review
A useful introduction to the history of quantum theory for scientifically inclined readers — Kirkus
...an impressive account of the rise of competing interpretations, grounding them in the human stories, which are naturally messy and full of contingencies. He makes a convincing case that it's wrong to imagine the Copenhagen interpretation as a single official or even coherent statement. — The New York Times
Becker handles the physics with aplomb... The cast is colourful and expansive, and provides engaging drama... The subtext running through this hugely enjoyable book is that, if we still have a long way to go before we understand reality... The story so far is of dazzling insights, flawed male scientists - and very few female ones. It's a key acknowledgement that should help to ensure that writing the next chapters of the quantum tale is open to all. — Michael Brooks, The New Scientist
Adam Becker has written an excellent, accessible account of an intricate story. — The Wall Street Journal
What Is Real? is an argument for keeping an open mind. Becker reminds us that we need humility as we investigate the myriad interpretations and narratives that explain the same data. — Nature
Becker has done a great service in putting this fascinating story together into a single easily-digestible volume that is gripping, authoritative, and true. — Quantum Times
[A] tremendously appealing new book ...Becker is a perfect choice to make sense of it all (or at least whatever sense is possible). He smoothly, easily dramatizes the great debates and the outsized personalities of quantum physics and fits it all into an enthusiastic, readable narrative, and along the way he digresses wonderfully on a wide variety of scientific phenomena. — Open Letters Review
Adam Becker sets out to explore why the physics community is still arguing today about quantum mechanics's true meaning...A riveting storyteller, Becker brings to life physicists who have too long remained in the shadow of Bohr and Einstein...an engaging and accessible overview of the debates. — Science Magazine
Spellbinding....This very book could prove to be a watershed moment for the physics community if it faces up to its own past and its present....If you have any interest in the implications of quantum theory, or in the suppression of scientific curiosity, What is Real? is required reading. There is no more reliable, careful, and readable account of the whole history of quantum theory in all its scandalous detail. — Boston Review
John Murray

Action Intelligence

Scott Grafton
Authors:
Scott Grafton

Coronet

Ways to Go Beyond and Why They Work

Rupert Sheldrake
Authors:
Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert Sheldrake is admired by both scientists and believers, both mainstream Christians but also in New Age and alternative circles. His famous theory of morphic resonance arose from an observation that once one blue tit discovered that it could peck through the silver foil on milk bottles to get the cream, blue tits all around the world began to do this in a remarkably short time - faster than if blue tits were able to talk and pass the message on.Sheldrake's theory is that consciousness is not local to human and animal brains but that we all tune into a cosmic consciousness. In this book he applies these theories to:· Prayer · Psychedelics · Fasting · Making good habits habitual · Sports · Music · Dancing

John Murray

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Stephen Hawking
Authors:
Stephen Hawking

Professor Hawking was a brilliant theoretical physicist, an influential author and thinker, and a great popular communicator. Throughout his career he was asked questions by business leaders, politicians, entrepreneurs, academics and the general public on a broad range of subjects, from the origins of the universe to the future of the planet.BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS brings together his thinking on the most timeless and the most-timely questions in science:Where did we come from?What is inside a black hole?Is there other intelligent life in the universe?How will we survive on earth?How can we colonise space?Will we ever be able to go beyond the Solar System? For both the scientific and the intellectually curious, this book celebrates the mind, humour, and achievements of one of the most inspiring figures in recent history.The book will include an Afterword from Lucy Hawking and a percentage of all royalties will go to the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Stephen Hawking Foundation.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe

Steven Novella
Authors:
Steven Novella

It's intimidating to realize that we live in a world overflowing with misinformation, bias, myths, deception, and flawed knowledge. There really are no ultimate authority figures - no one has the secret and there is no place to look up the definitive answers to our questions (not even Google). But, by thinking skeptically and logically, we can combat sloppy reasoning, bad arguments and superstitious thinking. In this tie-in to their popular 'The Skeptics Guide to the Universe' podcast, Steven Novella, along with 'Skeptical Rogues' Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella and Evan Bernstein explain the tenets of skeptical thinking and debunk some of the biggest scientific myths, fallacies and conspiracy theories (anti-vaccines, homeopathy, UFO sightings, and many more.) They'll help us try to make sense of what seems like an increasingly crazy world using powerful tools like science and philosophy. The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is your guide through this maze of modern life. It covers essential critical thinking skills, as well as giving insight into how your brain works and how to avoid common pitfalls in thinking. They discuss the difference between science and pseudoscience, how to recognize common science news tropes, how to discuss conspiracy theories with that crazy colleague of yours, and how to apply all of this to everyday life.

John Murray

The Brain

Congratulations! You're the proud owner of the most complex information processing device in the known universe. The human brain comes equipped with all sorts of useful design features, but also many bugs and weaknesses. Problem is you don't get an owner's manual. You have to just plug and play. As a result, most of us never properly understand how our brains work and what they're truly capable of. We fail get the best out of them, ignore some of their most useful features and struggle to overcome their design faults. Featuring witty essays, enlightening infographics and fascinating 'try this at home' experiments, New Scientist take you on a journey through intelligence, memory, creativity, the unconscious and beyond. From the strange ways to distort what we think of as 'reality' to the brain hacks that can improve memory, The Brain: A User's Guide will help you understand your brain and show you how to use it to its full potential.

John Murray Learning

Philosophy: The Audio Masterclass

Mel Thompson, Mark Vernon, Nicky Hayes
Authors:
Mel Thompson, Mark Vernon, Nicky Hayes

The Audio Masterclass series will give you everything you need to get up to speed on the big topics that matter in self-help, psychology, business and the humanities.Philosophy is a life-tool, a set of skills for engaging with any subject, and in the Philosophy Audio Masterclass you will discover a body of wisdom and a way to develop your own critical and creative thinking. Explore the key ideas in Western Philosophy and the arguments that continue to shape our world. Discover what philosophy is really about, question free will and see how philosophy relates to everything from comics to coffee.The Audio Masterclass series provides serious coverage of the most vital topics in self-help, psychology and the humanities, combining comprehensive, expert content from the celebrated Teach Yourself series. Each masterclass offers over 12 hours of practical, varied content to get you up to speed and fully informed on the subjects that matter.(P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Sceptre

The Consolations of Physics (or, the Solace of Quantum)

Tim Radford
Authors:
Tim Radford

The Consolations of Physics is an eloquent manifesto for physics. In an age where uncertainty and division is rife, Tim Radford, science editor of the Guardian for twenty-five years, turns to the wonders of the universe for consolation. From the launch of the Voyager spacecraft and how it furthered our understanding of planets, stars and galaxies to the planet composed entirely of diamond and graphite and the sound of a blacksmith's anvil; from the hole NASA drilled in the heavens to the discovery of the Higgs Boson and the endeavours to prove the Big Bang, The Consolations of Physics will guide you from a tiny particle to the marvels of outer space.

John Murray Learning

This is Planet Earth

The ancient Greeks called it Gaia; the Romans Terra. We know it simply as Earth, the planet we call home. And what a planet it is.Formed around 4.6 billion years ago from the debris of the big bang and long-dead stars, at first it was nothing special, but somehow it evolved to become the most amazing place in the known Universe. The only living planet we know of, it also has a very unusual moon, a remarkably dynamic surface, a complex atmosphere and a deeply mysterious interior.This is Planet Earth is dedicated to the wonders of Planet Earth. Its past is long and dramatic and its future shrouded in mystery. Yet despite centuries of research, only now are we starting to understand Earth's complexity.ABOUT THE SERIESNew Scientist Instant Expert books are definitive and accessible entry points to the most important subjects in science; subjects that challenge, attract debate, invite controversy and engage the most enquiring minds. Designed for curious readers who want to know how things work and why, the Instant Expert series explores the topics that really matter and their impact on individuals, society, and the planet, translating the scientific complexities around us into language that's open to everyone, and putting new ideas and discoveries into perspective and context.

John Murray Learning

A Journey Through The Universe

There's a whole universe out there...Imagine you had a spacecraft capable of travelling through interstellar space. You climb in, blast into orbit, fly out of the solar system and keep going. Where do you end up, and what do you see along the way?The answer is: mostly nothing. Space is astonishingly, mind-blowingly empty. As you travel through the void between galaxies your spaceship encounters nothing more exciting than the odd hydrogen molecule. But when it does come across something more exotic: wow!First and most obviously, stars and planets. Some are familiar from our own backyard: yellow suns, rocky planets like Mars, gas and ice giants like Jupiter and Neptune. But there are many more: giant stars, red and white dwarfs, super-earths and hot Jupiters. Elsewhere are swirling clouds of dust giving birth to stars, and infinitely dense regions of space-time called black holes. These clump together in the star clusters we call galaxies, and the clusters of galaxies we call... galaxy clusters.And that is just the start. As we travel further we encounter ever more weird, wonderful and dangerous entities: supernovas, supermassive black holes, quasars, pulsars, neutron stars, black dwarfs, quark stars, gamma ray bursts and cosmic strings. A Journey Through The Universe is a grand tour of the most amazing celestial objects and how they fit together to build the cosmos. As for the end of the journey - nobody knows. But getting there will be fun. ABOUT THE SERIESNew Scientist Instant Expert books are definitive and accessible entry points to the most important subjects in science; subjects that challenge, attract debate, invite controversy and engage the most enquiring minds. Designed for curious readers who want to know how things work and why, the Instant Expert series explores the topics that really matter and their impact on individuals, society, and the planet, translating the scientific complexities around us into language that's open to everyone, and putting new ideas and discoveries into perspective and context.

John Murray Learning

How Numbers Work

Think of a number between one and ten. No, hang on, let's make this interesting. Between zero and infinity. Even if you stick to the whole numbers, there are a lot to choose from - an infinite number in fact. Throw in decimal fractions and infinity suddenly gets an awful lot bigger (is that even possible?) And then there are the negative numbers, the imaginary numbers, the irrational numbers like pi which never end. It literally never ends.The world of numbers is indeed strange and beautiful. Among its inhabitants are some really notable characters - pi, e, the "imaginary" number i and the famous golden ratio to name just a few. Prime numbers occupy a special status. Zero is very odd indeed: is it a number, or isn't it?How Numbers Work takes a tour of this mind-blowing but beautiful realm of numbers and the mathematical rules that connect them. Not only that, but take a crash course on the biggest unsolved problems that keep mathematicians up at night, find out about the strange and unexpected ways mathematics influences our everyday lives, and discover the incredible connection between numbers and reality itself. ABOUT THE SERIESNew Scientist Instant Expert books are definitive and accessible entry points to the most important subjects in science; subjects that challenge, attract debate, invite controversy and engage the most enquiring minds. Designed for curious readers who want to know how things work and why, the Instant Expert series explores the topics that really matter and their impact on individuals, society, and the planet, translating the scientific complexities around us into language that's open to everyone, and putting new ideas and discoveries into perspective and context.

John Murray Learning

Human Origins

Sceptre

Lost and Found

Jules Montague
Authors:
Jules Montague
Yellow Kite

The Wonder Down Under

Nina Brochmann, Ellen Stokken Dahl
Authors:
Nina Brochmann, Ellen Stokken Dahl
Nicholas Brealey Publishing

Mission Control Management

Paul Sean Hill
Authors:
Paul Sean Hill

Failure is always an option...For more than 50 years, NASA's Mission Control has been known for two things: perfect decision making in extreme situations and producing generations of steely-eyed missile men and women who continue that tradition. A key to that legacy of brilliant performance is a particular brand of leadership, especially at the working level in Mission Control.Take the ultimate insiders look at the leadership values and culture that created the best team on this planet. Paul Sean Hill was responsible for NASA's Mission Operations support for manned space flight from 2007-2011. In this candid book he shows that the secret to Mission Control's success has never been rocket science and that the real practice of perfect decision making can be applied to any organisation or team. By demonstrating how his Mission Control team nurtured a culture which has delivered impossible wins for decades, Hill provides a guide for all leaders to boost their company's performance at all levels.Whether failure means cost and schedule overruns, quality reduction, loss of market share, bankruptcy - or putting someone's life a risk, how we lead can determine whether even small mistakes are dealt with or are left to snowball out of control and destroy an enterprise. Discover how to take leadership from the Mission Control Room to your boardroom and beyond, and achieve this out-of-this-world leadership environment in your team.

Sceptre

The Delusions of Certainty

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt
Coronet

Science and Spiritual Practices

Rupert Sheldrake
Authors:
Rupert Sheldrake
John Murray

How to Be Human

If you thought you knew who you were, THINK AGAIN.Did you know that half your DNA isn't human? That somebody, somewhere has exactly the same face? Or that most of your memories are fiction?What about the fact that you are as hairy as a chimpanzee, various parts of your body don't belong to you, or that you can read other people's minds? Do you really know why you blush, yawn and cry? Why 90 per cent of laughter has nothing to do with humour? Or what will happen to your mind after you die? You belong to a unique, fascinating and often misunderstood species. How to be Human is your guide to making the most of it.

John Murray

Bad Choices

Ali Almossawi
Authors:
Ali Almossawi

What's the best way to sort your laundry?Why is Facebook so good at predicting what you like?How do you find new music?Readers around the world have embraced Ali Almossawi's whimsical illustrations and his funny, clarifying explanations of complex subjects. In Bad Choices Almossawi demystifies a new topic of increasing relevance to our lives: algorithms. This is a book for anyone who's looked at a given task and wondered if there was a better, faster way to get it done. What's the best way to organize a grocery list? What's the secret to being more productive at work? How can we better express ourselves in 140-characters?Presenting us with alternative methods for tackling each scenario, Almossawi guides us to better choices that borrow from same systems that underline a computer word processor, a Google search engine, or a Facebook ad. Once you recognise what makes a method faster and more efficient, you'll become a more nimble, creative problem-solver, ready to face new challenges.

John Murray Learning

Black Sheep: The Hidden Benefits of Being Bad

Richard Stephens
Authors:
Richard Stephens

Richard Stephens became the focus of international media attention in 2009 for his research on the psychological benefits of swearing as a response to pain. Now, fresh from winning the 2014 Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize, Richard's first popular science book uncovers other pieces of surprising and occasionally bizarre scientific enquiry showing that what we at first perceive as bad can, in fact, be good.More pub conversation than science book, Richard's writing style is very accessible - both engaging and humorous. Think wasting time is bad? Not always! Research shows that taking time out can help you solve difficult problems. And if you can't be bothered tidying up, well fine, research shows that people are more creative in a messy environment. Swearing is rude but research shows that in some situations it can be a form of politeness. Swearing can also be used as a tool of persuasion.Black Sheep casts a slant on a range of human experiences from life to death, sex to romance, from speed thrills to halting boredom and from drinking alcohol (in moderation) to headily excessive bad language. This is a fascinating left-field tour of the world of psychological science. Get ready for the many hidden benefits of being bad that you really won't have seen coming.

Teach Yourself

Understand Ethics: Teach Yourself

Mel Thompson
Authors:
Mel Thompson

Is this the right book for me?An accessible introduction to ethicsWhether you're a student studying philosophy at any level, or simply want to gain a deeper understanding of this fascinating subject, Understand Ethics is an accessible introduction to all the key theories and thinkers. Fully updated, this latest edition includes contemporary examples and discussion of current debates including terrorism, genetics and the media, helping you to grasp how ethics applies to life today. Understand Ethics includes: Chapter 1: Introduction: the art of livingWhat makes something moral?What is the point of ethics?What price integrity?Rights and responsibilitiesThe art of livingChapter 2: Free to choose?What kind of freedom?DeterminismReductionismFreedom and the StateHow much freedom does morality need?Chapter 3: What do we mean?Three kinds of languageDefining key termsSome theories'Is' and 'ought'Chapter 4: Is it natural?Does it have a 'final cause'?Some features of 'natural law'How do you decide what is 'natural'?Applying 'natural law'Are we naturally good or bad?Evolution, change and the natural lawChapter 5: Looking for resultsEgoistic hedonismUtilitarianismForms of utilitarianismGeneral criticisms of utilitarianismChapter 6: The experience of moral choice ConscienceThe categorical imperativeThe creative responseDetermined and yet free?.. Chapter 7: Personal development and virtueAltruism?NietzscheVirtue ethicsExistentialismHumankind, Marx and FreudChapter 8: Law and orderSociety and moral choiceIn whose interest?Is equality possible?A social contractCrime and punishmentCapital punishmentIn self-defence?Civil disobedienceIf Nietzsche were a civil servant...Chapter 9: Religion and moral valuesHow are religion and morality related?The basis for religious ethicsReligious values and societyShould religious freedom be restricted?Chapter 10: Scepticism and relativismPhilosophers or politicians?Situation ethicsRelativism and moral absolutesChapter 11: Applied ethicsThe natural environmentAnimal rightsInternational issuesWar and peaceGender issuesSexual issuesSome issues in medical ethicsThe beginning and end of lifeBusiness ethicsMedia issuesLearn effortlessly with a new easy-to-read page design and interactive features: Not got much time?One, five and ten-minute introductions to key principles to get you started.Author insightsLots of instant help with common problems and quick tips for success, based on the author's many years of experience.Test yourselfTests in the book and online to keep track of your progress.Extend your knowledgeExtra online articles to give you a richer understanding of the subject.Five things to rememberQuick refreshers to help you remember the key facts.Try thisInnovative exercises illustrate what you've learnt and how to use it.