The Bit and the Pendulum: From Quantum Computing to M Theory -- The New Physics of Information / Edition 1

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"Funny, clear, deep, and right on target. [Siegfried] lets us get a handle on ideas that are essential for understanding the evolving world."
-K. C. Cole, author of The Universe and the Teacup
"An eager, ambitious book. A stimulating, accessible introduction to scientific theory."
-Dallas Morning News An award-winning journalist surveys the horizon of a new revolution in science Everything in the universe, from the molecules in our bodies to the heart of a black hole, is made up of bits of information. This is the radical idea at the center of the new physics of information, and it is leading to exciting breakthroughs in a vast range of science, including the invention of a new kind of quantum computer, millions of times faster than any computer today. Acclaimed science writer Tom Siegfried offers a lively introduction to the leading scientists and ideas responsible for this exciting new scientific paradigm.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Siegfried, the science editor of the Dallas Morning News, presents the radical idea that information is not merely something abstract and intangible but that it is physical. He asserts that bits and bytes of information are the foundation of reality; in other words, "it from bit." He argues that everything in the universe, from the biology of living things to the cosmology of a black hole, is constructed of nothing more substantial than bits of information. Whether one agrees with this far-out concept or not, Siegfried weaves a provocative and convincing argument, supported by a plethora of scientific and mathematical research cited in numerous sources recommended for further reading. This is the new physics of information, and Siegfried says it is leading to major breakthroughs in a vast range of science such as teleportation and the development of "quantum computers" designed to decode the mysteries of DNA and human consciousness. Recommended for an informed audience.--Joe J. Accardi, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
From The Critics
In this book, author Tom Siegfried guides his readers on a tour of fascinating discoveries and theories plucked from science headlines. He highlights a wide subject field in modern research and describes how this research is interpreted through the metaphor of the computer. His tour begins with quantum mechanics, passes through information theory, neuroscience, and complexity, and arrives ultimately at cosmology and the fabric of space and time. Without delving into challenging technical details, Siegfried provides an insight into how concepts of information and information processing have become important aspects of science. He gives the reader a flavor of the research and ties the different areas together with information. His broad view of many different areas of research provides a superb starting point for the further study of any one field.

A hint of how difficult modern research can be to understand, and the only limitation of the book, is that quite a few of the references mentioned for further reading were written by the author himself for the Dallas Morning News. There are references to other books written for the general public and a few journal articles, but following any particular research topic further would require a search of the literature. Descriptive and intriguing, The Bit and the Pendulum is written in a familiar and entertaining style. The interrelationships described among current research in diverse fields make the volume a very timely read. I recommend the book for students, teachers, science hobbyists, and scientists of all disciplines. Highly Recommended, Grades 7-College, Teaching Professional, General Audience. REVIEWER: William David Kulp, III(Georgia Institute of Technology)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471321743
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.43 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

TOM SIEGFRIED is Science Editor of the Dallas Morning News. He is the recipient of the 1997 American Psychiatric Association's Robert T. Morse Writer's Award.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Beam Up the Goulash 13
2 Machines and Metaphors 37
3 Information Is Physical 57
4 The Quantum and the Computer 77
5 The Computational Cell 95
6 The Computational Brain 115
7 Consciousness and Complexity 133
8 IGUSes 155
9 Quantum Reality 177
10 From Black Holes to Supermatter 195
11 The Magical Mystery Theory 213
12 The Bit and the Pendulum 235
Notes 249
Glossary 264
Further Reading 268
Index 275
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