What is Real?
The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics
By Adam Becker
The untold story of the heretical thinkers who challenged the establishment to rethink quantum physics and the nature of reality
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.
(P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited
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.
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- Publication date:
31 May 2018
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[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