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Parallel Universes: The Search for Other Worlds Paperback – February 15, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wolf's readers should get ready for a wild intellectual ride through the convoluted realms of quantum mechanics, relativity, black holes and imaginary time. The physicist ( Starwave ) is a strong proponent of the "many-worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics, and he launches a ferocious assault on conservative scientists who espouse the "Copenhagen" interpretation. Essentially, the debate hinges on the role of consciousness in measuring quantum events: Copenhagenists argue that a quantum measurement causes the "collapse" of a particle's probability wave, while Wolf claims the act of measuring actually causes the universe to split in two. The equations of relativity and quantum physics support both interpretations. Wolf describes what it would be like to travel through a black hole to a parallel universe; claims that the future must communicate with the present; answers the question of whether the universe had a radius before we started to measure it; and argues that schizophrenics may be in touch with parallel universes. Physics is becoming metaphysics. An enthralling, if somewhat wacky, read.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (February 15, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671696017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671696016
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #617,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fred Alan Wolf is a world-renowned physicist, writer, and lecturer who also conducts research on the relationship of quantum physics to consciousness. He is the author of 13 books, 3 audio CD courses and received the National Book Award for "Taking the Quantum Leap". He is a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Collegium of Scholars and was Professor of physics at San Diego State University for twelve years. Dr. Wolf has appeared in many nationally released films including "What the Bleep Do We Know?" and "The Secret." His latest book is "Time-Loops and Space-Twists: How God Created the Universe."
He has been interviewed on several radio and television programs including New Dimensions Radio, Western Public Radio, National Public Radio, and many others. He was the visiting scholar/scientist-in-residence in the Pacific Northwest sponsored by The Institute for Science, Technology, and Public Policy during the spring season, 1994. He has spoken numerous times before The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, The Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC, and several other prominent organizations and been interviewed on a number of television shows between the years 1995 to the present including: The Discovery Channel's The Know Zone, Sightings, The Thinking Allowed Television Series, The Malone show, The Evidence for Heaven. Star Trek IV, Special Collector's edition, The Fabric of Time, The Case for Christ's Resurrection, Down the Rabbit Hole, and the PBS series Closer to Truth.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 80 people found the following review helpful By A. Brennan on April 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
I did find that this book somewhat repetitive, as Mr. Wolf tended to "over-explain" aspects of the theories presented in "Parallel Universes: The Search for Other Worlds". However, I strongly suspect that this quandary had more to do with the Touchstone/Simon & Schuster editor's own lack in grasping of the subject matter, resulting in virtually a word-for-word transcription of the entire original manuscript into the final book form.
Considering this likelihood, this book is a true gem! For anyone interested in science and all possibilities, it is well worth a read by both the novice and the well educated. Many books are available on quantum physics, space, time as the fourth dimension, etc. To date, though, this is the only book I have been able to find that puts all of these theories into a veritable nutshell. It delves not only into possibilities, but also probabilities, which include aspects of every major discovery in physics, astronomy, and mathematics since the time of Pythagoras.
It is not a book for the faint of heart, who are secure in their understanding of their every day "reality". It is, instead, for those who intuitively know that there's something more to what we perceive as reality, more than the eye can see. Sorry, there aren't any illustrations for those needing visual aids. Mr. Wolf mentions in here that one needs an imagination to be a good scientist and I happen to agree (I am not scientifically inclined, nor mathematically for that matter, but I have always had a good imagination). The problem with attempting to provide diagrams and illustrations for the topic being covered in "Parallel Universes" is that you can't draw a fourth dimension on a piece of paper.
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66 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Sue Larson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a rocketship ride of a book that takes you on a quest for parallel universes. Wolf contemplates how we might perceive these parallel universes, and what it might feel like when we experience the past and future interacting with the present. The extra bonus of this adventure is that Wolf shows you how time is not the steady, measurable thing you thought it was! Time is slippery, because it can't ever be directly observed. Whereas we can measure and then verify a measurement of length or weight repeatedly, measurements of time cannot be easily confirmed. As Wolf points out so succinctly, "Nowhere is there a value of time associated with an observable called time. As far as the equations are concerned, time is just a convenient ordering parameter -- a way of keeping track of things placed alongside each other in a sequence." Time travel may well be possible, and you might not even need a time machine to do it! If you love to stretch your mind to understand more of the universe, I highly recommend this book.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By D. Roberts VINE VOICE on February 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Warning: this book pre-supposes that you have a basic understanding of quantum mechanics. If you do not have a familiarity with the foundation of QM, I would highly recommend that you first read either "Taking the Quantum Leap" (also by Wolf) or some other introductory book of QM (Rober Gilmore's "Alice In Quantumland" would be an excellent choice).
Wolf's present book deals with the Princeton physicist Hugh Everett's "solution" to the paradox of Schroedinger's Cat. While it is too detailed to go into any depth here, let's just say that the answer is that each collapse of the wave function by an observer "creates" an alternate universe. While this is an intriguing thought, it carries with it a whole lot of metaphysical baggage. Wolf takes us on a guided tour of what this baggage entails.
The book also explores the possiblity of alternate universes behind the singularities of black holes. Although this is something which can never be proven, it is a thought-provoking idea nonetheless.
Although I think Wolf reaches a little with his dictum of schizophrenia patients perhaps being "in touch" with alternate universes, this is a valuable resource for all those interested in QM. If nothing else, Wolf presents a compelling explanation of time, space and its relation to mind. A fascinating book.
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40 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
Wolf's problem, demonstrated again and again in "Parallel Universes" and his other books, is that he is a mediocre writer. Provocative, often fascinating ideas fizzle and die in the midst of Wolf's rambling, often barely coherent sentences. He offers speculation as fact -- for example, repeatedly claiming, in no uncertain terms, that quantum physics and relativity both "prove" that parallel universes really exist; most of us know that the idea of parallel universes is a theory, and a controversial one at that, popular strictly among the minority of physicists. And, in presenting difficult geometrical concepts (right triangles plastered onto a sphere, geodesics on a sphere, etc.), he doesn't offer A SINGLE ILLUSTRATION to make his points. The reader is left to grapple with geometry solely through the printed word -- and in poorly chosen words, to boot. Where is Stephen Hawking when you need him?
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