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The Everett Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Collected Works 1955-1980 with Commentary Hardcover – May 20, 2012
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"What can be said without dispute is that the present editors have done an excellent job in presenting the available material. Their book can be highly recommended to physicists in each of the two parallel branches of the mental universe!"--Peter J. Bussey, Contemporary Physics
"This book will be very useful for historians as well any philosophers working on the development of interpretations of quantum theory."--K.-E. Hellwig, Zentralblatt MATH
"[T]he book is a mandatory read for anyone interested in the history of the philosophy of quantum mechanics. The editors have skillfully grouped the material according to both chronological order and topical concern, and have added a fair amount of useful annotation, assisting the reader without being overly intrusive. Short but expertly written introductions provide necessary context on the biographical and conceptual dimensions. The book is also a fascinating and rewarding read."--Tilman Sauer, British Journal for the History of Science
"In sum: Spinoza's metaphysics has returned in the work of Hugh Everett as physics--as a complete and consistent interpretation of QM that resolves the traditional puzzles of the standard interpretation."--Sheldon Richmond, Philosophy in Review
From the Inside Flap
"It's a good thing, both for physicists working on the foundations of quantum theory and for historians of science, that these papers have been collected and made available in so convenient a form. They give a fascinating glimpse into one of the most important chapters in the history of ideas."--David Deutsch, author of The Beginning of Infinity
"This book is an interesting and important contribution to the scholarship on the Everett interpretation. It is unique in presenting early unpublished material by Everett on preliminary versions of his interpretation as well as correspondence between Everett and various physicists on the interpretation. A fascinating read for anyone interested in understanding the development of Everett's thinking."--Jeffrey Bub, author ofInterpreting the Quantum World
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This book includes background material on Everett's sad life and untimely death, and on the physics he did and the physics world at the time (1950s). It includes his original PhD thesis, and the much shorter final version which was toned down to placate Niels Bohr, the reigning supremo in Quantum Physics at the time. There are also letters and conference transcripts, which provide a lot of useful clarification and background. I read it from cover to cover without a break; it was just so absorbing and fascinating.
After reading this book I think Hugh Everett actually solved the measurement problem in QM in the mid 1950s. Later descriptions of his theory do not do it justice. Specifically he mathematically derived Niels Bohr's measurement postulate from the wave equation and some very minimal and plausible assumptions about probability. He removed the need for the "spooky action at a distance" that so bothered Einstein. He created a theory of measurement, and solved the "Schrodinger's Cat" problem, and the problem of "Wigner's friend." His theory has fewer assumptions than standard QM and has none of the philosophical conundrums. It is also valid for relativistic quantum field theory and (I think) the quantum theories of the weak force and the strong force as well.
Two problems have stopped the theory from being accepted. First, it is an implicit criticism of Bohr's Copenhagen Interpretation, and thus offended Bohr and his minions who did their best to discredit him. Second, his theory implies that our sense of reality and facts is not the whole story. Thus the characterization of his theory as the "many worlds" interpretation of QM. In fact he maintains that there is only one world, but they we see only one slice of it. Other slices exist that we do not have access to. Many people find it implausible for this reason, just as many people found Copernicus's theories about the earth revolving around the sun implausible because they conflicted with the "obvious fact" that the earth is not moving. But if you can get your head past this issue, it is, in my opinion, compelling.
If you have pondered what does QM mean or you are bothered by some of the paradoxes of QM, this is definitely a book to read. It requires a basic understanding of the theory, to 2nd or third year physics level.