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The Non-Local Universe: The New Physics and Matters of the Mind

23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195144086
ISBN-10: 0195144082
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The latest of many attempts to link subatomic physics to broader human concerns, this brisk, uneven volume splits neatly in two: the first half explains key ideas in quantum physics, and the second makes grand claims about their worth for other fields. Classical physics rules out "action at a distance." (You can't move a billiard ball unless something--a pool cue, an air jet, lightning--contacts it.) But quantum physics permits "non-local" action, and recent experiments prove it: do certain things to one photon, and you'll affect another faster than light can travel between the two. Hence, "all of physical reality is a single quantum system that responds together to further interactions," say the authors. Nadeau (a historian of science) and Kafatos (a physicist), both professors at George Mason University, move from these cogent, compact exegeses of quantum non-locality to its purported meanings for biology, philosophy and even economics. Non-locality, Nadeau and Kafatos contend--with its attendant "complementarity" between parts and wholes--helps explain the origins of life, speaks to the evolution of consciousness, solves the dilemmas of recent social and literary thought and bridges for good the divides between mind and matter, arts and sciences. The authors bring up, but don't always keep in mind, the difference between explanation and analogy. Some arguments "prove" truths most potential readers already know (e.g., we ought to work to save the rain forests); others (about evolution and about French theory) seem facile. Nonetheless, Nadeau and Kafatos supply plenty of food for thought: the apparently recondite concept of non-locality, they suggest, has consequences everywhere. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"Nadeau and Kafatos supply plenty of food for thought: the apparently recondite concept of non-locality, they suggest, has consequences everywhere."--Publishers Weekly


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Product Details

  • Series: New Physics and Matters of the Mind
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 31, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195144082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195144086
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.6 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #890,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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69 of 74 people found the following review helpful By David G. Yurth, PhD on July 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Non-locality and quantum entanglement are neither delicate nor rare events. Quantum non-locality is not rare and does not disappear. The Universe operates according to the principles of complementarity at all scales - Kafatos and Nadeau established the particulars of this verity with extraordinary adroitness in their watershed book "The Conscious Universe." The concept of non-locality as an implicate attribute of the material world is borne out by three pieces of impeccably documented science which are only now becoming generally known. Nicolas Gisin and his colleagues at CERN proved that Bell's predictions regarding non-locality were precisely correct. The positron-electron pairs they separated with a Potassium Niobate crystal and shunted through 15 kilometers of fiber optic cable, automatically re-oriented spin and polarity instantaneously to maintain net-spin values of zero when one of the particle-pair was accelerated through an electromagnetic field, to seven decimal points, in repeated trials. The effective rate at which the information transfer occurred between the particles is calculated to be at least 10 to the nine times faster than the speed of light. Second, Vladimir Poponin has demonstrated in his work with the DNA Phantom Effect that every molecule of DNA exerts a non-local field effect on the material locale surrounding it, which persists for up to 30 days after the DNA molecule source has been removed. The importance of Poponin's work is that it proves unequivocally that among living organisms, non-locality operates simultaneously with chemo-synaptic neuronal processes at all scales and in all living things.Read more ›
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By James F. Andris on November 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Even though I found Nadeau and Kafatos' The Non-Local Universe" a challenge to absorb, I couldn't put it down. In this book, the authors do much more than just rehash some much pondered over points about the implications of the Gisin and Aspect experiments that verified Bell's Theorem. For those of you who haven't checked out what's happening in modern physics in the last 50 years or so, "The mathematical statement derived by Bell in his theorem is known as Bell's inequality, and it is predicated on two major assumptions in local realistic theories-locality and realism." (p. 69) Aspect and then Gisin figured out a way to measure paired subatomic particles which refuted the locality assumption. Although Nadeau and Kafatos never make this exact point, one way to understand the refutation of localism is that in their wave structure, subatomic particles are extended infinitely throughout space and time (highly improbable, but nevertheless finitely probable). Hence in this sense, every particle/wave overlaps every other particle/wave and therefore, "We are all connected."
Nadeau and Kafatos are at great (sometimes, too great) pains to show how slowly and laboriously many physicists have given up the assumption that mathematical models of external reality can have a one-to-one correspondence with that reality. They even imagine Einstein still living and contemplating the Aspect experiments, agreeing that he was wrong and Bohr was right. They spend a comparable amount of effort in painting a non-picture of our non-local universe, as their book title might imply. The reason I say "non-picture" is the fact that a central point of theirs is that we can not adequately visualize a more than three-dimensional universe.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By David J. Kreiter on September 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If Albert Einstein had lived long enough to witness the results of Alain Aspect's experiments at the University of Paris-South in 1982 he would have had to concede that quantum theory is a self-consistent theory and physical reality is non-local. The Aspect experiment, and the 1997 Nicolus Gisin twin-photon experiments, validated John Stewart Bell's non-locality theorem to a substantial distance. These experiments confirmed that the physical universe is holistic and indeterminate, a fact that many physicists call the most profound discovery in all of science.
This is the premise of a thoroughly enlightening book by Nadeau and Kafatos, who by virtue of clear and concise writing, entice the reader into taking a journey into the new world of non-locality. The authors state that in order to embrace their premises one must be committed to metaphysical and epistemological realism. Metaphysical realism assumes that physical reality is real or has an actual existence independent of observation, and epistemological realism assumes that progress in science requires strict adherence to scientific methodology. This seems to be a bit of an inconsistency since one of the main premises of their book is that metaphysical realism is invalid.
Einstein, who was himself a contributor to quantum theory, and whose theory of relativity demonstrated that space, time, and motion are relative concepts, was none-the-less not ready to give up on the idea of deterministic principles and objective reality. His debates with Bohr concerning whether quantum theory was a complete theory was never settled during their lifetimes.
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