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Hidden In Plain Sight: The simple link between relativity and quantum mechanics [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Thomas
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)

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Book Description

You never knew theoretical physics could be so simple! In this exciting and significant book, Andrew Thomas clearly illustrates the simplicity which lies behind nature at its fundamental level. It is revealed how all unifications in physics have been based on incredibly simple ideas.

Using a logical approach, it is explained how the great 20th century theories of relativity and quantum mechanics share a common base, and how they can be linked using an idea so simple that anyone can understand it.

An idea which is so simple it has been hidden in plain sight.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Andrew Thomas studied physics in the James Clerk Maxwell Building in Edinburgh University, and received his doctorate from Swansea University in 1992. He is the author of the What Is Reality? website (, one of the most popular websites dealing with questions of the fundamentals of physics. It has been called “The best online introduction to quantum theory”.

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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars He's on to something... but not quite here December 31, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hidden in Plain Sight argues a thesis that seems hard to believe: the unified theory -- long considered the Holy Grail of physics -- has been right in front of our faces. It's so obvious that an undergrad non-science major could understand it. Yet the world's top physicists have been overlooking it. Dr. Thomas thinks the reason for this is that physicists have been looking for the wrong kind of unification. He writes: "Unlike conventional approaches attempting to mesh relativity with quantum mechanics, [my solution] does not just seek to DESCRIBE the effects of unification -- it seeks to EXPLAIN it."

He adds: "...[I]n the current academic climate, foundational questions seem to be considered the remit of philosophy -- not of physics, and get precious little attention."

Until now. Thomas looks at the similarities between the two theories: Einstein's Special and General Theories of Relativity which governs macro-level phenomena and Dirac's quantum mechanics, which governs sub-atomic phenomena. Consider a picture of a spaceship drawn on an otherwise empty blackboard. How fast is it moving? Well, on Einstein's thinking it sort of seems like an ill-formed question. In Newtonian absolute space-time it might be completely still, but that has long been consigned to the scrap heap of history. On the new model, it can only be moving or still in relation to something else. On its own, it's has no value. Or, as Thomas thinks, it has EVERY possible value. In short, the way we understand a spaceship in this situation could be the same way we understand an unobserved quantum according to quantum mechanics: every possible value before interaction with the rest of the universe (observation), some specific value after observation.
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138 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here it is in a nutshell. October 9, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are familiar with relativity then you have probably seen an explanation of how velocity is relative. The explanation goes something like this -- suppose you have a space ship moving through space and you want to know its velocity. It turns out that the answer depends on the observer. If you have a 2nd space ship then an observer on that space ship could measure the speed of the first space ship relative to his own speed. For example, he might determine that the first space ship is moving at 600 mph relative to his own speed, which for sake of argument we could say is stationary (0 mph). However, an observer on a third space ship could determine a completely different speed for the first space ship. Let's say the third space ship is traveling at 400 mph in the opposite direction of the first space ship. An observer on the third space ship could perceive his own space ship as stationary, the first space ship traveling at 1000 mph (600 mph + 400 mph) and the second space ship travelling at 400 mph. It is all relative. Speed means nothing without an observer measuring it against something.

Andrew Thomas takes this a step further. He suggests that we consider a space ship travelling through space without any frame of reference. We know that it is moving, and that we will be able to measure its velocity once we have another frame of reference, so what is its current velocity prior to having that second frame of reference? His answer is that its velocity is "ALL" the velocities between 0 and the speed of light. It is only once we have a second frame of reference that the space ship's velocity collapses to measurable rate.

Quantum mechanics works exactly the same. If you are familiar with QM then you will have seen the light through two slits experiment.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I came across this book on the author's website, where he covers a lot of interesting topics (some of which are included in the book). I assumed this book was a popularisation of standard physics theory (and the author does cover a lot of standard sub-atomic theory in a very concise and clear way), but this book goes beyond that to cover the author's own ideas and theories. This is quite thought provoking, although I would caution that not all of it is universally supported in the academic cummunity. In particular, his thoughts about the links between gravity and quantum theory are interesting, but not proven.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading this book. The author is very convincing about the fundamental principles of the universe and physics. I had trouble following some of his explanations, which may simply reflect on my ability to understand the material rather than on the author's ability to explain it. I also think that the author repeats some concepts too much in order to ensure the reader is following along...the opposite of the aforementioned problem. Overall, this is an excellent, important book that will change the way you understand and see the universe. It is a very fast read that anyone with average intelligence and an open mind can comprehend, which is not to say that it is "dumbed down"; the author simply leaves out math and technical jargon that would detract from the point of the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the universe in which we live. And at $.99 for the electronic can't go wrong!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Interesting, but don't think the author supported his claim.
Published 3 days ago by Stephen L Conkling
5.0 out of 5 stars ... understand a little bit of physics this is a good starting
If tou want to understand a little bit of physics this is a good starting point
Published 4 days ago by Colin Hazelton
4.0 out of 5 stars The Truth Will Disturb You!
Spoiler Alert! Don't read this review if you want to follow the author through the rabbit warren. Here is the bottom line: if you like to believe that your actions affect the... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Geekazoid
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Seems obsessed with his point of view...
Published 15 days ago by Peter Schwenzer
2.0 out of 5 stars Only if you are desperate
I would only recommend this recommend this book if you have already read many popular science books, were desperately looking for another and wanted to only spend $0.99. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good at corrrecting the common falacy of absolute space and time
"Hidden in Plain Sight" stresses a very important point: Everything is relative. This book provides a service to remind us of this fundamental point, which even many physicists... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Johnny
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden I & II
Good! Get the sequel, too!
Published 23 days ago by man in the hat
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting thesis on fundamental concepts underlying both relativity...
Enjoyable and very easily understood thesis on "getting back to basics" rather than the philosophical discussions that pass for physics of late. Read more
Published 23 days ago by thorn87
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent conceptual explanations and interpretations
Excellent conceptual explanations and interpretations. Makes rational sense of relativity theory and quantum mechanics. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Martin Fealk
5.0 out of 5 stars Wipe out your misconceptions about physics and start fresh
Dr Thomas' reasoning is deep yet clearly presented and easy to follow. I really like the way the author starts with first principles and builds from there.
Published 1 month ago by Tony N. Rogers
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More About the Author

Andrew Thomas studied physics in the James Clerk Maxwell Building in Edinburgh University, and received his doctorate from Swansea University in 1992.

He is the author of the What Is Reality? website (, one of the most popular websites dealing with questions of the fundamentals of physics. His first book, "Hidden In Plain Sight", is a science best-seller.


Topic From this Discussion
Probably dumb question
I would say the answer to your second question is yes, they are different. For the first question, I believe the author point is sure, if you could measure the size of the universe, you could then state anything else's size as a relationship to the size of the universe. Or vise versa, you could... Read More
18 days ago by Amazon Customer |  See all 2 posts
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