"A fascinating and thought-provoking story, one that sheds light on the origins of some aspects of the current challenging situation in physics...Mr. Halpern's engaging account is a great human story and should be of interest as well to anyone fascinated by the still-unsolved questions that they pursued together."
-Wall Street Journal
"[A] fascinating book... Halpern, a professor of physics, takes the time to explain the intricacies and significance of the two men's work in wonderfully clear ways. He employs helpful analogies and metaphors to lower the reader gently into a strange new world...[written with] entertaining and evocative prose...[an] insightful book."
"Physicist Paul Halpern tells the entangled tale of Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrodinger and their search for a Grand Unified Theory with humour and concision."
"This book can be put on the reading list of those who have enjoyed The Theory of Everything and want to know more."
"Halpern's book has an enormous richness of detail about both men's lives and work."
"That's a lot to cover in a single book, and the author masters this challenge most thoroughly. While the science is covered in detail, the tone and narrative are accessible to readers with all levels of mathematical and physics proficiency. The author has served science writing well by casting light on the relationship between these two pioneers of quantum physics....Indeed, there are lessons about the often-messy process of science in this book for students, scientists, and citizens alike."
"Assuming no science background from his audience, Halpern explains the necessary background physics to follow the evolution of the ideas. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels."
"A highly approachable book that will appeal to readers...who are interested in physics, the history of science, and the human and political aspects of scientists and their work."
"With verve, Halpern explores the fragile nature of scientific collaboration... Halpern ably explores the clashing personalities and worldviews that had physics in churning ferment during the early part of the 20th century."
"We have seen books that celebrate Einstein and Schrodinger as two of the greatest scientists of all time. With clarity and diligence, Halpern does something different as he explores how intellectual curiosity and vanity get enmeshed with power struggles and the media to bring out the worst in good-willing people, especially when the stakes are as high as the creation of a God-like 'theory of everything.'"
-Marcelo Gleiser, author of The Island of Knowledge
"As a fan of popular science books and someone who has used phrases such as 'God does not play dice' and 'Schrodinger's Cat' in my songs, I found Paul Halpern's book illuminating and entertaining."
-Roland Orzabal, co-founding member of Tears for Fears
"Writing with verve and insight, Paul Halpern tells a striking cautionary tale about friendship, vanity, and the quest to make a great discovery. He gives an exceptionally lucid and engaging account of modern physics, embedded in a rich human tapestry centered on Einstein, Schrodinger, and their friends."
-Peter Pesic, author of Music and the Making of Modern Science and Director of the Science Institute at St. John's College in Santa Fe, NM
"This is history of science writing at its best-effortless prose, juicy details and a fascinating narrative that casts familiar territory in a whole new light. The friendship and betrayal between Einstein and Schrodinger is a little known story, and Halpern brings it to life with a historian's care, a physicist's knowledge, and a writer's charm. The book provides a poignant look at how philosophy drives scientific progress and an important critique of how the media shapes and distorts it."
-Amanda Gefter, author of Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn
"Einstein's Dice and Schrodinger's Cat is a fascinating, well-written account of how these two men struggled with one of the most puzzling features of quantum mechanics, the appearance of randomness in nature. Both general and specialist readers will find it of interest."
-David C. Cassidy, Professor of Chemistry at Hofstra University and author of Beyond Uncertainty: Heisenberg, Quantum Physics, and the Bomb
"With his trademark grace and clarity, Paul Halpern shines new light on the personalities, lives, and achievements of two of the twentieth century's greatest theoretical physics, at the same time illuminating the fascinating interactions between the two. Halpern has a rare talent for bringing both the physics and the human stories to life."
-Kenneth W. Ford, former Director of the American Institute of Physics and author of 101 Quantum Questions and Building the H Bomb: A Personal History
The history of a grand theory—the theory of everything, aka the unified field theory—that never achieved flight and the two household names that kicked the fledgling theory from the nest before its time.This is a solid story of how scientific progress is achieved, or not, incorporating the mindsets Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger brought to the creation and elaboration of their various theories in physics. With verve, Halpern (Physics/Univ. of the Sciences in Philadelphia; Edge of the Universe: A Voyage to the Cosmic Horizon and Beyond, 2012, etc.) explores the fragile nature of scientific collaboration—especially when two substantial egos are involved, compounded by one of them being subject to spells of braggadocio and overreaching—and throws light upon the sometimes-murky worlds of determinism and probabilism. The author is generally clear when dealing with the unified theory and the quest to bring together the fundamental forces of nature, but physics in general is a gnarly topic to make clean and simple for the outsider: "Therefore, the cat would be in a zombielike quantum superposition of deceased and living," is difficult enough to grasp, let alone "the square root of the negative of the determinant of the Ricci tensor." But give Halpern serious credit for melding the wealth of math and physics that influenced both Einstein and Schrödinger's work into a coherent whole—symmetry rules, cosmological constants, non-Euclidean geometry. In addition, the author imbues the story with issues that touched the personal lives of both men. Einstein's life feels familiar and true; Schrödinger emerges as someone scarred by envy and not a little opportunistic—e.g., when he composed a "statement of support for the Anschluss." Halpern ably explores the clashing personalities and worldviews that had physics in churning ferment during the early part of the 20th century.