Astrophysicist John Gribbin first introduced the general public to the world of quantum physics in 1984 with his book In Search of Schrödinger''s Cat. A dizzying, counterintuitive domain, the quantum world is so strange that Richard Feynman, the greatest physicist of his time, admitted, "nobody understands quantum physics."
Science has not stood still in the years since In Search of Schrödinger''s Cat was written, and in this new book, Gribbin brings us up to speed on the latest developments. New interpretive models have been put forth about the nature of particles and light; experimental evidence has turned over many of the basic precepts of the Copenhagen interpretation, which says that until it is observed, the subatomic world exists only as a probability wave, lacking any objective reality independent of observation. The new models offer not only a paradigm independent of an observer, but also begin to unite quantum phenomena with relativity and Newtonian mechanics. This is not to say that the quantum realm has become more comprehensible. With particles existing simultaneously as particles and waves, feedback loops, and waves that move forward and backward in time, the quantum world is still a strange, strange place; it''s just a little less solipsistic.
As in his previous books, Gribbin deftly translates the abstruse mathematics of these new theories into a highly readable narrative that informs as it entertains. Schrödinger''s Kittens and the Search for Reality is a book that can be enjoyed by expert and layman alike.
An intriguing tour of the mysteries of modern physics describes how dramatic improvements in experimental techniques and new theories have transformed the quantum universe over the last decade--from mind-bending paradoxes to intriguing sidelights. Reprint. PW.
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