ISBN-10:
0199552274
ISBN-13:
9780199552276
Pub. Date:
06/06/2010
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family

The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family

by Peter Byrne
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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199552276
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 06/06/2010
Pages: 456
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Peter Byrne is an investigative reporter and science writer based in northern California. He has written for Scientific American, Mother Jones, Salon.com, SF Weekly, North Bay Bohemian, and many other magazines and newsweeklies. He has received national recognition for his investigative reporting, including from Investigative Editors & Reporters and Project Censored. He a member of the Foundational Questions Institute, which has supported this book with a large grant. He has made presentations on Everett at University of Oxford, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and University of California, Irvine. He consulted on (and appeared in) the BBC4 production about Everett, Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives. He is curating the Everett papers.

Table of Contents

Book 1: Beginnings
Introduction: The Story of Q
1: Family Origins: a Sketch
2: Katharine: the Dark Star
3: The Scientist as a Young Man
4: Stranger in Paradise
Book 2: Game World
5: Demigods
6: Decisions, Decisions-the Theory of Games
7: Origin of MAD
8: von Neumann's Legacy
Book 3: Quantum World
9: Quantum Everett
10: More on the Measurement Problem
11: Collapse and Complementarity
12: The Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics
Book 4: Everett and Wheeler
13: Wheeler: the Radical Conservative
14: Genesis of Many Worlds
15: Alone in the Room
16: Tour of Many Worlds
17: The Battle with Copenhagen, Part I
18: The Battle with Copenhagen, Part II
19: The Chapel Hill Affair
Book 5: Possible World Futures
20: Preparing for World War III
21: From Wargasm to Looking Glass
22: Fallout
Book 6: Crossroads
23: A Bell Jar World
24: A Vacation in Copenhagen
Book 7: Assured Destruction
25: Everett and Report 50
26: Everett and the SIOP
Book 8: Transitions
27: Behind Closed Doors
28: Death's Other Kingdoms
Book 9: Beltway Bandit
29: Weaponeering
30: The Bayesian Machine
31: The Death of Lambda
Book 10: Many Worlds Reborn
32: DeWitt to the Rescue
33: Records in Time
34: Austin
35: Wheeler Recants
Book 11: American Tragedy
36: The Final Years
37: Aftermath
Book 12: Everett's Legacy
38: Modern Everett
39: Everett Goes to Oxford
Epilogue: Beyond Many Worlds

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The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
VisibleGhost on LibraryThing 11 months ago
My brain nearly melted reading this. The Many Worlds idea has been used in fiction for a long time, usually in science fiction. The concept is easy enough to portray- the universe splits and in the split-offs results diverge from the universe the characters originally occupied. A trope oft used. The physics and philosophy describing how such splitting could be possible is anything but easy to comprehend. It gets messy real fast. Attempts at clarification introduce even more messiness. Then head pains ensue.Everett wrote his dissertation on branching universes in 1957. It was bold and audacious. Most physicists that saw it said- Good Grief! We have to deal with this crazy paper? No thanks! And it was mostly ignored for ten to fifteen years. But it wouldn't go away and kept picking up new adherents over time. More- Good Grief! We still have to deal with this? Nobody was able to kill it dead. The cosmologists found useful things there and it has been in play ever since with many additions and refinements. Everett never published another paper on quantum mechanics. He avoided the fray for the rest of his life with only an exception or two. He went into operations research for the defense sector. There he was a Cold Warrior working with the equations of first strikes, second strikes, and the possible deaths of hundreds of millions of people. Grim stuff indeed. Everett loved it though. He treated life as a game and his life as a part of his beloved game theory. He was a hawk in the Cold War environs but a hedonist in his personal life. He and his wife became swingers. Later he started a travel business with his girlfriend. The Everetts never separated or divorced. Everett drank his lunch, was a chain smoker, and ate like there was no such thing as cholesterol. His son and daughter were allowed free reign. There was no discipline. Because Everett's focus and immersion in his thoughts and his career there was also little attention paid to the children either. They were almost strangers. His daughter was alcoholic as was Hugh. She also had substance abuse problems and was suicidal. Hugh only made it to the age of fifty-two. He succombed to a heart attack. Liz, the daughter, didn't even live that long. She was thirty-nine when she overdosed. Hugh's wife died not long after from lung cancer. It was probably contracted from her husband's chain smoking.This left Mark, the son, alone in the world at a fairly young age. He had escaped the family home by going to California and pursuing a music career. He formed The Eels, and did solo stuff also. Ten years after being left alone he started trying to make a bit of sense of his family. There was a BBC documentary focusing on his father, Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives. He also wrote a memoir that was an Early Reviewer book on LibraryThing. It's called Things the Grandchildren Should Know. This biography was a thorough examination of Everett's life and his professional accomplishments. He was far from a saint, probably not a devil; more of a smart average-Joe trying to muddle through life by avoiding parts of reality with the desensitizing effects of physical pleasure.