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Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality: Solving the Quantum Mysteries Paperback – May 1, 1996

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 261 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (May 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316328197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316328197
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Astrophysicist John Gribbin first introduced the general public to the world of quantum physics in 1984 with his book In Search of Schrödinger's Cat. A dizzying, counterintuitive domain, the quantum world is so strange that Richard Feynman, the greatest physicist of his time, admitted, "nobody understands quantum physics."

Science has not stood still in the years since In Search of Schrödinger's Cat was written, and in this new book, Gribbin brings us up to speed on the latest developments. New interpretive models have been put forth about the nature of particles and light; experimental evidence has turned over many of the basic precepts of the Copenhagen interpretation, which says that until it is observed, the subatomic world exists only as a probability wave, lacking any objective reality independent of observation. The new models offer not only a paradigm independent of an observer, but also begin to unite quantum phenomena with relativity and Newtonian mechanics. This is not to say that the quantum realm has become more comprehensible. With particles existing simultaneously as particles and waves, feedback loops, and waves that move forward and backward in time, the quantum world is still a strange, strange place; it's just a little less solipsistic.

As in his previous books, Gribbin deftly translates the abstruse mathematics of these new theories into a highly readable narrative that informs as it entertains. Schrödinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality is a book that can be enjoyed by expert and layman alike. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In a sequel to In Search of Schrodinger's Cat, Gribbin offers further explorations into the often mind-bending theoretical world of contemporary quantum physics.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

The book is appropriate for the lay reader with a general interest in science.
Steven L. Shafer
I think "In Search of Schrodinger's Cat" and "Schrodinger's Kittens" gives you a good explanation of quantum mechanics and makes you want to learn more about it.
Rui Antunes
You need to read more than one book to get a full understanding of what is know as Quantum Electrodynamics.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Newt Gingrich THE on March 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the follow on to In Search of Schrodinger's Cat, which was a laymen's introduction to the complexities of Quantum behavior. I strongly recommend you read that book first to get a general introduction to the amazingly different world of behavior below the level of about one hundred nanometers or 200 atoms. At that level the rules change profoundly. So much so that we do not seem to even understand quantum behavior but we do understand the effects of quantum behavior. That is, as Feynman described it in QED we can measure and predict with astonishing precision (accurate to the thickness of a hair measuring between two points one in New York and one in Los Angeles) what happens but we cannot explain why.
Gribbin seeks to create a deeper understanding of the principles of quantum behavior and the why of it. Gribbin explains elegantly why all this matters: "the interactions of electrons with one another and with electromagnetic radiation determine almost everything about the world around us . . . All of chemistry is explained by quantum physics . . . biological life depends upon the behavior of complex molecules such as proteins and DNA, which is also chemistry and also depends ultimately on the quantum properties of electrons".
If you want to have a better understanding of the most powerful area of basic knowledge for the early 21st century you should read these three books and Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe. If after you get through it and it doesn't make sense then you are on the right track. You will, however, be closer to understanding quantum dynamics which will be as important for the first half of the 21st century as physics was in the 20th or electromagnetic theory and the internal combustion engine were for the second half of the 19th.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Atheen on February 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Although I'm not really a math/physics type person, I enjoy the popular books on the subject and have read a number. John Gribbin's book Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality was a little harder for me to get into, but there was a fair amount of new-at least to me-material. Part of the problem was that the author tended to repeat himself. Although if I plowed onward I usually discovered his purpose in doing so. Part of the problem is that he covers a lot.
The book has a fairly extensive history of the who's who of physics, starting with the early Greek philosophers for whom experiment was largely impossible (even the thermometer is a fairly new invention) to the likes of Galileo and Newton (for both of whom experiment was an imperative). The section on Modern Times is interesting in that it shows where thinking has gone wrong as well as right, and shows the interconnectedness of research in physics, one break through or thought experiment leading to further advances. I certainly found the degree to which Einstein was beholding to previous theorists surprising; he has become such an icon, that he seems to stand alone, head and shoulders above the rest. Just the idea that scientific understanding had reached a level at the turn of the century that the discovery of relativity was "ready" to be made was a surprise to me. It makes even more obvious that advances have their "time" and that much in science and technology moves forward in lock step.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Rash on December 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
I won't pretend that this book is for everyone. It's not. It helps if you've read the initial book in this series, and it helps a lot if you read about science extensively. You will need a frame of reference, but don't get too comfortable with it, because it will be snatched away from you.
John Gribbin follows "In Search of Schrodinger's Cat" with a book that is even more important. While he points out that no one will ever really understand quantum phisics, I must say that this book at least gives you an understandable look at it.
It's hard to overstate the value of "Schrodinger's Kittens" but if you've read "Cat" then you must read this. If you haven't, well then, go read "Cat," and then get this book.
Gribbin makes quantum physics as clear as it can be made to those who don't know all the math. He makes you wish you did, but you don't really need it. But he also adds an excitement that I never believed possible in a book on physics, or on a topic of this type, including my own.
You won't really understand quantum physics after reading this book (because it's beyond human understanding) but you will surely appreciate it more than you do now. That's as good as can be said about any book in this subject.
I wish I could do as well in my books. Thanks, John.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
It's a great book for getting a rough handle on some of the popular quantum interpretations, but Gribbin fails to explain some critical theories. In some parts he leaves the reader a bit confused, while going to deeply in some of the historical/ mechanical stuff, boring the readers in other parts. "In Search of Schroedinger's Cat" was much better. I'd recommend other authors (like Feynman) for explanations of quantum theories.
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