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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 (216 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.99
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What If? by Randall Munroe
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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 (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: 1418 KB
  • Print Length: 217 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008ABSSIW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,862 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 82 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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144 of 155 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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37 of 38 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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22 of 25 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 version...you can't go wrong!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, if mostly philosophical.
Presents a plausible explanation of how relativity and quantum mechanics have similar underpinnings. No new science, but a novel view that might inform thinking on the topic.
Published 4 hours ago by Frank0527
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, concise, stimulating and maybe a little wrong.
Leaving aside the hypothesis for a moment: The author explained things that I have been trying to understand (unsuccessfully) my whole life, to whit:

o Why time slows... Read more
Published 8 hours ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good luck.
If you are looking for something to think about while you're in your chair, try this. Beware though, once you start down the road of quantum mechanics and relativity there is no... Read more
Published 3 days ago by robert thornton
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Almost makes quantum mechanics seem intuitive
Excellent. Almost makes quantum mechanics seem intuitive! Also gives gauge theory a different look. Loved it
Published 4 days ago by Charles M. Hofmann
3.0 out of 5 stars I did not llike this book!
In all honesty this book is probably better if you are more of a science geek than I am. While it was clearer in writing than most text books, much of it went right over my head. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Barry Owens
2.0 out of 5 stars His constant reiteration of his main ideas creates a boring, tedious...
Poorly written prose makes this book a sleeper. His constant reiteration of his main ideas creates a boring, tedious monologue that wants you to put the book down and move on a... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Les Hettinger
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Haven't finished it yet
Published 14 days ago by hermanator
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent explanations
If you're interested in Special/General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, then this book is for you. Read more
Published 15 days ago by tom sawyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Read all three books. Concise and clearly written.
Read all three books. Concise and clearly written.
Published 17 days ago by Robert Pope
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely ideas
I like when a book makes me think and this one made me think about a lot!!! If you have questions find some interesting ideas here!!! Enjoy!!!
Published 20 days ago by Trollac
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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 (www.whatisreality.co.uk), 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.



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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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