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Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science Paperback – May 8, 2007
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“Philosophically, the implications of quantum mechanics are psychedelic. . . . [a] mind-expanding discovery.” (Gary Zukav, author of The Seat of the Soul)
About the Author
A winner of the Nobel Prize, Werner Heisenberg (1901–1976) was born in Würzberg, Germany, and received his doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Munich. He became famous for his groundbreaking Uncertainty (or Indeterminacy) Principle. After World War II he was named director of the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics.
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Top Customer Reviews
For the reader new to Heisenberg I suggest first reading a collection of essays published by Seabury Press in 1983 under the title Tradition in Science. In 1989 this collection, now titled Encounters with Einstein And Other Essays on People, Places, and Particles, was republished by Princeton University Press. A few discussions are a bit technical, but they do not involve mathematics. These essays were written between 1972-1975. Heisenberg died in 1976.
Another good choice is Philosophical Problems of Quantum Physics, a collection of Heisenberg's early lectures that span the turbulent period 1932-1948. Many of the key ideas discussed in his 1952 book Physics and Philosophy will be found in this earlier work.
Heisenberg believed that early Greek philosophy is closer to the ideas underlying modern physics than it was to the deterministic, objective reality defined by Newton. The story of the development of quantum theory is always fascinating, but even more so when told from the viewpoint of a major contributor to this great intellectual triumph. Bohr, Heisenberg, and other founders of the Copenhagen interpretation recognized quite early that quantum theory would have a the profound impact on man's understanding of reality.Read more ›
This book reads like a collection of essays and, perforce, some chapters could probably be left unread without great harm. Chapter 7, 'the theory of relativity,' being a case in point. No, the real beauty of this book is not in its trenchant reflections on the mechanical behavior of matter, but more on its correlation with physics as a human endeavor, and the evolution of human thought in philosophical terms, as well as language and how it expresses ideas; these themes, philosphy and language, are artfully crafted and make this book significant, not the fact that we can make atom bombs or postulate a universe.
Heisenberg emphasizes the Copenhagen interpretation, which states that the observer effects the outcome of an experiment by the very act of having observed the experiment. This is of course true primarily in terms of atomic physics and not of macro events. For example, if you try to observe an electron you will have to use high energy equipment to do so, which will effect the behavior of the electron.Read more ›
Logical positivism affirms that all knowledge is ultimately founded in experience. This led to a postulate concerning the logical clarification of any statement about nature. But since quantum theory such a postulate cannot be fulfilled.
Kant's a priori's like space and time are viewed totally differently since quantum theory. His law of causality is no longer true for the elementary particles, because we don't know the foregoing event accurately or this event cannot be found.
Heisenberg states that it will never be possible by pure reason to arrive at some absolute truth.
Naturally this book is not up to date. It doesn't speak about COBE or superstrings. But Heisenbergs explanation of quantum theory is second to none.
Quotable. After someone said that the quantum theory may be proved false, Bohr answered: 'We may hope that it will later turn out that sometimes 2 x 2 = 5, for this would be of great advantage for our finances'.
A great book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The recipient of this book really enjoyed it, and said it stimulated lots of good thoughts.Published 3 months ago by Kim
I'd been wanting to explore the impact of modern physics on philosophical thought ever since I took Modern Physics in preparation for grad school. Read morePublished 7 months ago by nathantlz
If only today's geniuses had the genuineness and authenticiy of Heisenberg's character. This is an absolute masterpiece of brilliance. As Mozart said, genius is nothing but Love. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Lord Byron
Werner Heisenberg was clearly an amazing intellect on many levels. This challenging book provides excellent insight into the nature of theoretical physics and the challenges of... Read morePublished 18 months ago by J. Gabriel
Half way through and concluded it was erroneously titled. Should be "Philosophy and Physics."Published 19 months ago by Warren S. Taylor