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Quantum Reality delves into the controversial world of quantum physics and the many conflicting versions of reality. Herbert begins by using historical examples to explain people's general inability to fully fathom the complex topic because the tools of understanding likely don't exist yet. We cannot understand what our preexisting understanding tells us isn't possible. The question of what is "this" is raised repeatedly and Herbert works to diligently explain each theory and attempt to fill the definition of reality void. The book takes a close look at conceptual theories from scientists such as Heisenberg , Einstein, and Bohr without delving too much into the complex mathematical world that lies behind them, providing simplified explanations of the quantum reality.
The inability to prove what exactly reality means is the underlying crux of the book, culminating with the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment. It is explained through a variety of differing theories from the Copenhagen interpretation to the many-worlds interpretation. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the many thought provoking theories pertaining to what reality is and how observation can alter that reality. The book carries a consistent theme of the question of reality and heavy discussion of what "is" is as theorized by the great physics minds of the century.
I particularly liked Quantum Reality's lack of an authoritative voice instructing the reader of right and wrong. Instead Herbert presents the material and allows the reader to ponder their applicability in their own mind. The book undoubtedly raises more questions than it answers, which to anyone who enjoys a thought provoking read, is definitely a positive note. Although the book makes a very commendable attempt to explain complex quantum theories to the general reader, some basic physics knowledge is very helpful. The book seemed wordy in a few sections, which served only to further complicate the issues being presented.
Anyone who would like a layman's terms explanation of the complex and often heavily mathematical world of quantum physics would find Quantum Reality very helpful. If you are looking for some light before-bed reading, this book probably shouldn't be on your wish list. If you enjoy books that make you question reality and what the meaning of it all is, however, then this book comes heavily recommended. Other books that may be of interest to you are Brian Green's The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, as they also investigate the new realities of modern physics. Herbert provides a very balanced approach to presenting a wide variety of quantum theories and successfully explains very complex ideas in terms a reader with a some basic physics knowledge can understand. I give Quantum Reality a rating of four out of five.
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Posted June 28, 2013
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