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238 of 262 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The forbidden encounter: consciousness meets the universe
Before reading this book my thinking on the interaction of quantum mechanics and consciousness was:

1. Quantum mechanics states that "nothing exists until it is measured."

2. An object can't be measured unless there is a conscious mind to measure it.

3. Therefore Quantum Mechanics implies that consciousness (God) created the universe...
Published on February 6, 2012 by Alan F. Sewell

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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Earnest but Shallow
The book is clearly written and organized nicely. But it takes too long to get going (about the first 40% of the book is repetitive setup). There's an all-too-brief middle that has a nice combination of depth and breeziness before it rings hollow again. The authors play it a hair too safe to make for a satisfying read.

If you're new to the quantum 'enigma',...
Published on April 28, 2012 by Chris


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238 of 262 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The forbidden encounter: consciousness meets the universe, February 6, 2012
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This review is from: Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness (Paperback)
Before reading this book my thinking on the interaction of quantum mechanics and consciousness was:

1. Quantum mechanics states that "nothing exists until it is measured."

2. An object can't be measured unless there is a conscious mind to measure it.

3. Therefore Quantum Mechanics implies that consciousness (God) created the universe.

This book was important to me because it broadened my understanding of the "enigma" that I have thought about for much of my life --- did consciousness create the universe or did the universe create consciousness?

It is miraculous that this book was ever written. Scientists, at least in their public lives, must rigorously separate their work from their philosophy or theology. It is career suicide for a scientist to even speculate on the idea of consciousness creating the universe. The authors have engaged in exactly that kind of speculation. They have trespassed into the forbidden encounter of consciousness with the universe.

The starting point is that even the most agnostic of physicists have pointed out how amazing it is that the universe, from its largest macrostructures to its tiniest subatomic particles, conforms to precise mathematical formulas conceived by the human brain. Why IS the universe so orderly when odds are it should have been disorderly? Was the universe conceived by the "Old One" (Einstein's reference to a Divine Creator)? Did the universe imbed itself in the creation of consciousness, or did consciousness imbed itself in the creation of the universe? Does OUR IMAGINING the past, present, and future bring it into being for our micro-universe of personal experience?

The ENIGMA of Quantum Mechanics is whether reality creates consciousness or whether consciousness creates reality. That is because the heart of Q.M. is that an object does not come into existence until it is observed and measured. This is not only a weird idea, but a revolting one. Albert Einstein never reconciled himself to it. He famously said, "I like to believe the moon is there even when I'm not looking at it." Einstein dedicated the later years of his life to refuting Q.M, debating furiously with the likes of Niels Bohr. He always came up short. The authors make clear that despite its counterintuitive weirdness that:

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Quantum mechanics is stunningly successful. Not a single prediction of the theory has ever been wrong. One-third of our economy depends on products based on it. However, quantum mechanics also displays an enigma. It tells us that physical reality is created by observation, and it has "spooky actions" instantaneously influencing events far from each other-without any physical force involved. Seen from a human perspective, quantum mechanics has physics encountering consciousness.
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To comprehend this enigma you'll need to be intimately familiar with the thought experiment of Schrodinger's Cat, understanding why the imaginary cat goes from an undetermined state to life or death the instant it is observed, and why the transition to a state of life or death appears to create a history of causality. Observation appears to define the life or death event. Causality is then created backward from the point of observation. Of course the "cat" is a proxy for all phenomena in the universe. It illustrates that at a macro-level cause appears to create effect whereas the quantum reality is that observation creates effect and effect creates cause.

The essential insight of the book is whether the observation that materializes objects into reality has to be made by a CONSCIOUS entity. Does a distant star come into being when a scientist looks at it through a telescope, or does it come into being because its light impacts the telescope, even if no conscious mind is there to observe it? The book answers the question this way:

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Entanglement with the world constitutes observation, and the atom collapses into one box or the other as soon as its wave-function enters the box pair and encounters the Geiger counter. After that, the cat is either dead or alive. Period!
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I interpret that to mean that "big" objects at the visible level come into existence because their macro-effects such as emission of light and gravitational attraction make them "observable" to inanimate objects in their environment. Thus, the moon WAS "there" even when Albert wasn't looking at it. But at the subatomic level particles ARE too small to influence their environment and therefore they DON'T exist in any definite state of being UNTIL some conscious entity uses an instrument to measure them.

Thus, the book proves, at least to my satisfaction, that there is no way of knowing whether consciousness created the universe or whether the universe created consciousness. Faith remains faith and science remains science. Both have survived their forbidden encounter and come away unscathed.

However, this is just my interpretation. The authors explain that there are currently 10 interpretations of Quantum Mechanics that attempt to correlate consciousness to the physical realities of the universe. They are:

1. Copenhagen (named for Niels Bohr and other physicists at the University of Copenhagen) is the "orthodox" view that observation creates microscopic reality

2. Extreme Copenhagen - the view that consciousness creates ALL reality, macro and micro

3. Decoherence - an extension of Copenhagen dealing with the interaction of micro particles with the macro world.

4. Many Worlds - Each quantum possibility creates a separate universe

5. Transactional - an observation in the present instant creates the entire reality chain from the beginning of the event to its present observation.

6. Bohm (named for David Bohm) - Quantum events are not random but are cause by a hidden "quantum force"

7. Ithaca (named for the physicists working at Cornell University) - the uncertainty is in the observation, not the state of the particle that is being observed.

8. Quantum information

9. Quantum logic

10. GRW (Ghirardi, Rimini, and Weber) - objects are brought into reality by the RANDOM collapse of their waveforms (having nothing to do with observation). When one atom in an object materializes, it interacts such that all other atoms in the object materialize. That is why macro objects ALWAYS exist, but micro particles exist only when observed. Each individual atom might take a billion years to randomly materialize from its waveform, but large objects consist of quadrillions of atoms, so they materialize immediately.

Thus, there is a sense of COMPLETENESS about this book in that it has discussed in some detail these ten interpretations covering the spectrum of current knowledge of Quantum Theory.

IMO this book is not only intensely profound but outstandingly comprehensible and enjoyable for lay readers. It is one of the most meaningfully illustrated books I've ever read. It is lacking nothing in its explanation of the fundamental Q.M. concepts that govern the universe. Just make sure you have made a casual acquaintance with Schrodinger's feline of indeterminate life before you start reading!
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quatum Enigma: appreciating profound ignorance, August 9, 2013
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I am a theoretical physicist but I must admit I did not fully appreciate the Quantum Enigma until I read the first edition of this book a few years ago. I first learned quantum mechanics over 40 years ago and have actively practiced it. That is, I used it to calculate theoretical predictions. It was only in the last 10 years or so that I asked myself, "What is the electron actually doing when light is emitted from an hydrogen atom?" After reading this book I realized the answer is, "Nobody has the slightest idea!" Fully appreciating the vast gap between the "classical" world we live in and the "quantum world" took some time for me. That kind of profound ignorance takes time to appreciate. I now better understand what I have read in biographical books about Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, and Schrodinger. As the realization slowly set in as to what quantum mechanics was saying, these men and other physicists struggled with each other in an almost religious battle. Now over 80 years later we know no more than we did then. In the end, everyone has to come to appreciate the profound ignorance we have at this point in history. For any interested layman or scientist, the Quantum Enigma is a must-read item.
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67 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Follow more closely the manifestation of the stunning facts in our 'dance to a mysterious tune', July 27, 2011
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Didaskalex "Eusebius Alexandrinus" (Kellia on Calvary, Carolinas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness (Paperback)
*****
"Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for insects as well as for the stars. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper." -- Albert Einstein

Since all natural phenomena are essentially interconnected, we need to comprehend them all in order to explain any one of them, an unachievable hard task. However, science has formulated the bootstrap model, "that represents the ultimate view of nature that arose in quantum theory with the realization of an essential and universal interrelationship." Quantum Interconnection attracted attention in the last decades; since physicists came to realize that the universe is inter-connected in much subtler ways than had once been thought. The "inter-dependence of all things" can be found in many mystical traditions. The 'observer' and the 'observed' in quantum physics, can no longer be separated and the whole takes precedence over the part. The founders of quantum mechanics debated the role of the observer, with Pauli and Heisenberg believing that it was the observer that produced collapse. This point of view, was never fully endorsed by Bohr, while denounced as mystical and anti-scientific by Einstein. Pauli accepted the term, calling Q M lucid mysticism. Some people claim that this idea gains support from the description of the physical world provided by quantum mechanics.

Heisenberg and Bohr always described quantum mechanics in logical positive terms, while Bohr believed that quantum theory offers a complete description of nature, and never drew a dividing line above which objects cease to be quantum and become classical. Wigner recomposed the 'Schrödinger's cat', as a 'Wigner's friend' thought experiment, claiming the consciousness of an observer is the demarcation line which precipitates a collapse of the wave function. Any realist's interpretation of quantum mechanics states that observation by a conscious observer is the cause of wave function collapse. In the few decades since the experimental proof of the existence of entanglement, the interest grew in the mysteries and significance of quantum phenomena. The mathematical principles of this 'new' science may help explain and recognize consciousness as a fundamental part of reality. The similarities between mind and quantum theory undoubtedly abound. Penrose wrote contentious books on the connection between fundamental physics and human consciousness. In 'The Emperor's New Mind', 2002, he argues that known laws of physics are inadequate to explain the phenomenon of consciousness.

In many philosophies, the conscious mind is seen as a separate entity, existing in a realm not described by physical law. I quote an eminent ally of the Big Bang theory expressing his view, "Some physicists, influenced by this [string] theory seemed to dream of being able to establish with a watertight super theory that a creator God would have had no choice as to how he was to create the world. This would make God superfluous, or identical with the world formula that was sought. Consciously or unconsciously, such physicists are still thinking in the paradigm of a mechanistic-materialistic science that has been popular since the nineteenth century and is convinced that it can solve all the problems of science move by move. No one has made the ideological background so clear as the physicist who most recently worked on a grand unified theory (GUT) that would make a creator God (GOD) superfluous." Hans Kung, The beginning of all things

This expanded second edition, got an extensive update including Q M advances. The authors has drawn on responses from readers, to improve the clarity of the text. The engaging and easily read book is a compelling exposition of the state of modern physics from Max Plank to the string theory, explaining the "inter-dependence of all things." It offers without doubt a vivid account of the quantum enigma, making "An immensely important and exciting book," while "Exposing the hidden skeleton in the physicist's closet." My above impression tries to underline, in a lay person's words, what it is all about, and why we should follow more closely the manifestation of some stunning facts in our 'dance to a mysterious tune'.

The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics (Popular Science)
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging, Well-Written Book on a Difficult Subject, October 22, 2011
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This review is from: Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness (Paperback)
I'm an Aerospace Engineer. That said, this book DOES NOT read like a typical science text book, which is great.

The authors lay out fundamental concepts in a very succinct way, instead of overloading the reader with indepth expositions of natural laws. Basically, I'm not resorting to a guilt-trip to power me through the book or making bargains with myself on the acceptable length of time I will give the book until I finally put it down for good.

Quantum Enigma is compelling while outlining the basic physical theories and their history, lays down the frame work and structure of quantum theory and then BAM! Shows you the amazing boundary between modern physics and, well...what we may regard as mysticism in today's day and age. On it's own, it's also a great "intro" to the basics of what is known and affirmed within physics and quantum theory. Instead of discouraging inquiry (as somebooks do, solely by trying to impress the reader with "difficult" concepts that don't get fully explained), Quantum Enigma will make you want to know more through highly accessible writing that tells an awesome story.
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46 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep, August 28, 2011
By 
slow glass (Big Spring, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness (Paperback)
This is always a fascinating topic, and these two co-authors / physicists tackle it without any magic wands or silly new-age garbage. This isn't light reading, so be prepared to get involved. But don't expect the book to offer any real answers either, and who should expect it ? After all, the title says it: Enigma. But if you ever want to feel a little more educated on something so mysterious that what happened yesterday and is going to happen tomorrow is happening right now (or something like that), then this book is for you!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a physics teacher, June 12, 2012
By 
Dr. Laurance R. Doyle (SETI Insitute, Mountain View, California United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness (Paperback)
This is by far the best non-mathematical book explaining the excitement of quantum discoveries available today. It is clearly (and cleverly) written in an enjoyable style but it is also clear that these guys know their stuff, and have (somewhat amazingly) gotten precisely what is going on today in the quantum physics community down in a readable form for the non-specialist. There are plenty of books involving some wild speculations about quantum physics, but if you are a non-specialist and want to know what physicists themselves are really thinking, this is the book for you. I, frankly, have to give it seven stars.
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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary well written and informative book, August 3, 2011
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This review is from: Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness (Paperback)
Quantum Enigma is an outstanding informative and well written book. The very thorny and intricate quantum physics is approached with carefully used words and expressions. The topic goes step by step, like you being in a classroom learning quantum physics from highly qualified teachers. The real quantum enigma is approached in a very simple way, making you feel the core of the problem,though difficult, is also available to your understanding. The approach to consciousness is really well explained and utterly comprehensible for anybody.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Earnest but Shallow, April 28, 2012
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The book is clearly written and organized nicely. But it takes too long to get going (about the first 40% of the book is repetitive setup). There's an all-too-brief middle that has a nice combination of depth and breeziness before it rings hollow again. The authors play it a hair too safe to make for a satisfying read.

If you're new to the quantum 'enigma', then this is a great place to start. But if you've read other books on the topic, odds are that this is a bit redundant for you. I'd recommend for those folks to pick one of the interpretations and read into it for more depth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good anchor on a slippery slope!, September 10, 2012
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If you knew only high school physics, yet wanted to know about the real implications of quantum theory, look no further. I was simply drawn into the book and really did not want to put it down until finished and I certainly will give it a second read. One real surprise is Dirac, who was a giant in quantum theory finds no mention in the book.

Being an Indian & familiar with Vedic and Buddhist philosophical principles, it would be very easy to jump to unsupported inference that quantum theory says what these schools have been saying from ancient times - that objective world is an illusion. There are many books which take you through this path. In this regard, this book truly stands out on its own, trying to be very objective, separating experiments, interpretation, theory and intuition! In the process, it also gives some hints about the "pseudo science" interpretations.

I had heard about Einstein's "God does not play dice" phrase, but hadn't understood his concerns at all. This book clarified it very well.

Overall, it excited me so much that I decided to do a reasonable self-study of quantum mechanics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting introduction to the problem of observation and consciousness in quantum physics, May 3, 2013
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An introductory text written for non-scientists that explains the difficult problems in interpreting the role of consciousness in quantum physics. The book is not mysticism and does not attempt to relate the findings of quantum physics to religious thought. Instead it presents how non-intuitive quantum physics is to our commonsense understandings of time, and the independence or lack of independence of reality from consciousness. (Which are major themes in mystical thought.) The book argues that future progress in physics requires an explicit consideration of consciousness, which has been avoided over the past 80 years. It also briefly reviews recent philosophical thought about consciousness, although discussion is very terse. It does an excellent job (in my layperson opinion) of explaining the key experiments in quantum physics that raised these questions of consciousness and reality.
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Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness
Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness by Bruce Rosenblum (Paperback - August 1, 2011)
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