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What Is Real?

The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics
Lu par : Greg Tremblay
Durée : 11 h et 45 min
5 out of 5 stars (3 notations)

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Description

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.

  

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©2018 Adam Becker (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc

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Global

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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • G B.
  • 14/09/2019

philosophy and politics versus science

The book is an interesting account of the various people that played a role in the development of quantum physics, the famous like Schroedinger, Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, Bell and Feinman, but also the lesser known to the public like Everet, Wheeler, Bohm and Podolsky.
More precisely it tells about the divide in the scientific community on the interpretation of quantum physics and what it means; what we understand/believe to be how reality is structured. It is a story about the culture of science; how scientists got inspired to come up with new theories and how the political and philosophical climate supported some and not others in the academic world.

The author makes a case for the relevance of the interpretation, stating there is still a large portion of the community that disregards the meaning and holds a utilitarian view: "as long as the math works and it helps us to predict the outcomes of experiments, what does it matter?" In the book, he refutes this with a thought experiment about a remote control and hypothetical dead batteries.
Another is the lagging influence of the logical positivist philosophy that holds that only observable phenomena have any meaning and the unobservable, like the atom that was hypothesized before it was seen, have no meaning.

Having read news articles about the loophole-free Bell test which proves quantum entanglement, the measurement of gravity waves, the discovery of the Higgs boson and the development of quantum computers that use q-bits in a probabilistic way, I was interested to listen to the different emerging theories and find out how they were first conceived or proven.
Even though the subject matter is sometimes quite thick or confusing the narrator does a really good job of keeping my attention.
In the end, the point has been driven home that theories that inform our fundamental understanding of the world are needed and are what drives science forward in a certain direction, and this decides for a large part what experiments are done.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • stefano
  • 21/08/2019

Lucid and courageous. Einstein avenger

Loved this book. It starts as a narrative from the very early days of quantum theory till today. It ends with a lucid analysis about science and philosophy. the (brave) author doesn’t spare Neils Bohr and his followers accusations of intellectual dishonesty. Einstein and others victims of the Copenaghen imposition are avenged.

  • Global
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09/07/2018

jarring and entertaining

well worth the time and energy (pun intended) to follow along the various thought experiments that the author takes you to.

great read

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  • John P
  • 01/08/2019

Brilliant

History combined with physics. A look behind the scenes and into the life of some of the most renowned physicists.
I loved it!

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  • Andreas Teschner
  • 22/06/2018

More history than theory

This is a seriously good book, if a bit vague at the end. I had no idea what a warzone quantum physics could be. Now we are all waiting for the next big discovery.