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Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality: Solving the Quantum Mysteries Paperback – May 1, 1996
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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.
From the Back Cover
"Nobody understands quantum theory", said Richard Feynman, and in the 1980s that was true. Now John Gribbin presents exciting new evidence about the nature of light that pulls together quantum theory and relativity theory into a coherent explanation of reality - solving the quantum mysteries. John Gribbin's bestselling In Search of Schrodinger's Cat, heralded as "absolutely fascinating" by Isaac Asimov, was the first book to present the quantum's many riddles. Now he returns with Schrodinger's "kittens", the offspring of his famously indeterminate cat. As a way of visualizing the many perplexing paradoxes of the new view of reality, Gribbin carries them to opposite ends of the universe, where their fate is determined by signals that travel faster than light and backwards in time. Elsewhere in the mysterious quantum world there are photons capable of being in two places at the same time. All this has much more than just theoretical interest. The practical applications are equally astounding. They provide for the serious possibility that quantum theory could eventually be used to develop a Star Trek-style teleportation machine, and how it has already found applications in uncrackable codes.
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Not an easy book to figure out, even for scientists, but apparently one worth struggling with.
Today it's a bit dated. As noted in a prior review, Gribbin has his heart set on the Transactional interpretation of QM, but decoherence is fashionable today. I think Leggett's inequality, which was recently proven, also goes against the Transactional intepretation. Not to mention that the transactional interpretation seems to require a closed universe and, despite Gribbin's disclaimers, severe determinism.
That's just the last chapter though, and it makes excellent reading anyway. The rest of the work is as enthralling and disorienting as it was 12 years ago. The theoretical breakthroughs that inspired this book were predicted in the mid-20th century and proven in the late 80s, so the book stands well.
It's not "merely" a book in Quantum Mechanics. Gribbin is a philosopher of science as well as a writer and physicist, and he fits a solid discourse on the nature of scientific models into his book.
It's a relatively slender, tightly written work that rewards the careful reader. I read a bit every day, which gave me time to digest and reflect. I don't recommend a single go, instead skim the last chapter then steadily work through the book.
I will never think of the photon quite the same way again. To the timeless photon all that was is, and all that will be is ...
I wonder, these days, if all of cosmology and quantum mechanics is "merely" an attempt to understand the photon ...
An excellent primer for anyone exploring the wierd world of Quantum Physics. Even now, I recommend folks read about Schrodinger's Cat, then the kittens and then more recent work, as these lay a valuable foundational layer for future understanding as the science becomes more involved and convoluted.
Destined to be the same classic text that the first in this series is.