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

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Length: 217 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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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 (www.whatisreality.co.uk), 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”.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1883 KB
  • Print Length: 217 pages
  • Publication Date: June 9, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008ABSSIW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,769 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Andrew Thomas studied physics in the James Clerk Maxwell Building in Edinburgh University, and received his doctorate from Swansea University in 1992.

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108 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Spencer Case on 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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174 of 190 people found the following review helpful By David Ivey on October 9, 2012
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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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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By kegraham on September 4, 2012
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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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Dave E on March 28, 2013
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All the while I was reading this book, I kept imagining the author sitting in a smoky English pub, slamming his pint on the table and repeating his maxims, over and over again. This is primarily because that is exactly the tone of the book. Mr. Thomas could benefit from an editor who could help with things like proper punctuation, eliminating redundant statements (often within the same paragraph), and filtering out the occasional "it's not my fault if they're looking at it wrong" and "any other viewpoint is pure rubbish."

Actually, there is some humor mixed in there as well, so I think I would actually enjoy seeing this play out at the local physicist' pub (maybe called Mind Your Pints and Quarks?).

Mr. Thomas does make an earnest effort to explain very complex concepts in plain English examples, and I must admit he opened some doors for me in areas I've struggled before. I will also give credit for his approach of building up from foundational principles, where experimental methods have previously fallen short. I think that is a good approach.

However, I find his logic falls short throughout...

**** SPOILERS ****

One of his foundational principles was a huge logical leap. If I interpreted correctly, he is saying that since there is observable quantum entanglement, then EVERYTHING in the universe must be assumed to be interconnected. Not just small systems, not just a phenomena we haven't explained yet, his only allowable conclusion is that everything in the universe is connected and therefore the universe must be dealt with as a whole. Perhaps the end conclusion is valid for other reasons, but offering it as the only logical conclusion of quantum entanglement just missed the mark.
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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
Jul 12, 2014 by Amazon Customer |  See all 2 posts
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