- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (November 11, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400044170
- ISBN-13: 978-1400044177
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #721,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
The story of quantum mechanics and its lively cast of supporters, heretics and agnostics has always fascinated science historians and popular science readers. Gilder's version differs from the familiar tale in two important ways. First, by focusing on the problem of entanglement—the supposed telepathic connection between particles that a skeptical Einstein called spooky action-at-a-distance—Gilder includes more recent developments leading to quantum computing and quantum cryptography. Second, Gilder exercises—not wholly successfully—a daring creative license, drawing excerpts from papers, journals and letters to construct dialogues among the scientists. Science is rooted in conversations, Werner Heisenberg once wrote, and Gilder's created conversations reveal personalities as well as thought processes: Do you really believe the moon is not there if no one looks? asks Einstein. Less comfortable aspects of the era are also part of Gilder's story, the uncertainty and fear as one scientist after another fled Nazi Germany, the paranoia of the Manhattan Project and the McCarthy era. Gilder's history is rife with curious characters and dramatizes how difficult it was for even these brilliant scientists to grasp the paradigm-changing concepts of quantum science. 20 illus., 15 by the author. (Nov. 12)
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“Gilder’s book brings the reader into a mix of ideas and personalities, which she handles with verve.”
-The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2009
“[A] fascinating yarn . . . For anyone who wants to understand the human angle of modern physics and separate quirks from quarks, this is your book.”
-The Providence Journal Best Books of 2008
“Highly readable . . . A delightfully unconventional history . . . which brings the scientist actors to life as complex personalities with interesting lives . . . [A] welcome addition to the popular history of twentieth-century physics.”
-Don Howard, Nature
“Highly entertaining . . . A surprisingly effective re-creation of some of the most subtle intellectual history of the 20th century . . . Gilder is a fine storyteller who brings to life one of the great scientific adventures of our time.”
-N. David Mermin, American Scientist
“A sparkling, original book . . . Gilder brings the reader into a mix of ideas and personalities handled with a verve reminiscent of Jeremy Bernstein’s scientific portraits in The New Yorker . . . Gilder beautifully evokes [the experimentalists’] world.”
-Peter Galison, The New York Times Book Review
“A witty, charming, and accurate account of the history of that bugaboo of physics—quantum entanglement . . . There are many books out there on the history or foundations of quantum mechanics. Some are more technical, others more historical, but none take the unique approach that Gilder has—to focus on the quantum weirdness of entanglement itself as her book’s unifying them and to present it in an inviting and accessible way . . . I was enthralled and found the book delightful.”
-Jonathan P. Dowling, Science
"An admirable, unexpected book, historically sound and seamlessly constructed, that transports those of us who do not understand quantum mechanics into the lives and thoughts of those who did."
-George Dyson, author of Darwin Among the Machines
"Louisa Gilder disentangles the story of entanglement with such narrative panache, such poetic verve and such metaphorical precision that for a moment I almost thought I understood quantum mechanics."
-Matt Ridley, author of Genome
"Louisa Gilder breathes new life into a story of intellectual daring and makes its protagonists come alive. A deep, beautiful, and thoroughly original book."
-George Johnson, author of The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments
“The Age of Entanglement is a marvelous guide to the endlessly fascinating mystery of quantum mechanics—and to the equally fascinating way some of the world's smartest scientists have wrestled with understanding it.”
-Charles C. Mann, author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
“Captivating . . . a movingly human and surprisingly accessible picture of the unveiling of the quantum universe . . . Admirably lucid . . . on these challenging ideas.”
-Julia Keller, The Chicago Tribune
“Unusual . . . [Gilder] displays an ability to capture a personality in a few words.”
-James Trefil, The Washington Post
“Compelling . . . No book more fully delivers the creative excitement of science.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“[This] fast-paced history . . . is less simplified than other popular accounts, but those who pay attention will find it highly rewarding. A tour-de-force by a talented young author who makes a difficult subject accessible.”
“Astonishing . . . The courage and even audacity of a nonscientist to investigate the evolution of ideas about the most esoteric aspects of quantum physics are truly remarkable . . . This is not the textbook one would pick up in order to learn quantum mechanics, but it is the book one should read before that first textbook . . . Gilder is a phenomenal writer.”
-Frank L. Cloutier, Charleston Post & Courier
“The clearest and most intriguing history of the manner in which the scientific method continues to advance knowledge . . . that I’ve ever read . . . Gilder’s book tells an amazing story.”
-Kel Munger, Sacramento News & Review
“A welcome addition to the genre . . . Once Gilder leaves the already well-trod ground of pre-World War II quantum mechanics, her book really shines . . . Gilder proves that the neglected last fifty years of quantum mechanics is just as full of brilliant, quirky personalities and mind-bending discoveries [as the first thirty years] . . . She clearly understands what makes science exciting and science history interesting.”
-Michael White, ScientificBlogging.com
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Top customer reviews
I have 2 copies.....one for home, and one to read in the checkout line, or
when waiting for my wife at Michael's craft store, etc. Works great!
I bought it because it was recommended at the Physics Forums (Quantum Mechanics),
to help understand Entanglement at a distance.
But it's been much more than that to give me a sense of the history and evolution of
Quantum theory, and the great minds that discovered the field.
I will need to read it several times at least.
John Bell (1928-1990), a remarkable scientist who spent most of his career at CERN. He is best known for the theorem that has been a thorn in the side of quantum mechanics since its publication in 1964. In considering the famous Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) paradox, Bell came up with a theorem, stating in effect:
Some quantum mechanical predictions (EPR correlations) cannot be mimicked by any local realistic model in the spirit of Einstein's ideas.
In a 1978 survey J.F.Clauser and Abner Shimony had summed up the consequences of the theorem:
The theorem has thus inspired various experiments, most of which have yielded results in excellent agreement with quantum mechanics, but in disagreement with the family of local realistic theories. Consequently, it can now be asserted with reasonable confidence that either the thesis of realism or that of locality must be abandoned. Either choice will drastically change our concepts of reality and of space-time.
Belle's Theorem showed that it was experimentally possible to distinguish between the opposing positions of Bohr (advocate of quantum mechanics) and Einstein (advocate of hidden variables theory). Any local hidden variables theory would lead to results that would satisfy Bell's inequality. Hence, results that violated the inequality would conclusively rule out the hidden variables theory of the sort described by Einstein.
Kurt Gottfried and N. David Mermin state that "Bell has had the greatest impact on the interpretation of quantum mechanics of anyone since the 1920s"; few would argue that this is not true. Bell's challenges to quantum mechanics have bedevilled physicists for over three decades now -- and have also led to much fruitful inquiry and a wide array of experimental approaches to testing Bell's Theorem and its inequalities.
One of the curious things about Bell's theorem was that, when he came up with it in the 1960s, there was no experimental data to go with it -- the situations Bell discussed had simply not yet been investigated. Part of the fun, then, was in designing experiments to test situations "where quantum mechanics predicts a conflict with Bell's inequalities".
Louisa Gilder tells this story in a clear and fascinating way.
There is a related story in United State that a bunch of physicists collectively made contribution in building atomic bomb at the Los Alamos, New Mexico, during WWII. One can find some names who were involved in this Entanglement. The story of the interacting among the nine physicists is very nicely depited in the book 'Pandora's Keeper' by Mark Vandemark published in 2005. I imagine they can be nice companions. I am mostly owed by the effort of their research and we readers owe the writers. CW Kang
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So what is the practical use of entangled particles and why should we be interested? Quantum computers is a tantalizing prospect.Read more