Synchronicity: The Epic Quest to Understand the Quantum Nature of Cause and Effect

Synchronicity: The Epic Quest to Understand the Quantum Nature of Cause and Effect

by Paul Halpern


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One of Physics Worlds Best of Physics in 2020

From Aristotle's Physics to quantum teleportation, learn about the scientific pursuit of instantaneous connections in this insightful examination of our world.
For millennia, scientists have puzzled over a simple question: Does the universe have a speed limit? If not, some effects could happen at the same instant as the actions that caused them — and some effects, ludicrously, might even happen before their causes. By one hundred years ago, it seemed clear that the speed of light was the fastest possible speed. Causality was safe. And then quantum mechanics happened, introducing spooky connections that seemed to circumvent the law of cause and effect. Inspired by the new physics, psychologist Carl Jung and physicist Wolfgang Pauli explored a concept called synchronicity, a weird phenomenon they thought could link events without causes. Synchronicity tells that sprawling tale of insight and creativity, and asks where these ideas — some plain crazy, and others crazy powerful — are taking the human story next.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541673632
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 08/18/2020
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 149,315
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Paul Halpern is a professor of physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and the author of sixteen popular science books, including The Quantum Labyrinth and Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and is a fellow of the American Physical Society. He lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Mapping Nature's Connections 1

1 Touching the Heavens

Ancient Views of the Celestial Realm 11

2 By Jupiter, Light Lags! 39

3 Illuminations

The Complementary Visions of Newton and Maxwell 63

4 Barriers and Shortcuts

The Mad Landscapes of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics 85

5 The Veil of Uncertainty

Turning Away from Realism 113

6 The Power of Symmetry

Connections beyond Causality 145

7 The Road to Synchronicity

The Jung-Pauli Dialogue 173

8 False Reflections

Navigating Nature's Imperfect House of Mirrors 207

9 Reality's Rodeo

Wrangling With Entanglement, Taming Quantum Jumps, and Harnessing Wormholes 227

Conclusion: Unraveling the Universe's Tangled Web 245

Acknowledgments 261

Further Reading 263

References 267

Index 277

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