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In Search Of Schrodinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality (1984)

by John Gribbin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,236245,052 (3.85)15
An astrophysicist offers an introduction to the theoretical principles, practical applications, and far-reaching implications of quantum physics and quantum mechanics.
  1. 00
    Physics For the Rest of Us by Roger S. Jones (GuyDeWhitney)
    GuyDeWhitney: The best intro to modern physics I have ever read! Gribbon is the one that first made quantum theory have meaning for me.
  2. 00
    Quarantine by Greg Egan (hungeri)
    hungeri: A good scientific book and a sci-fi based on the same subject. The scientific base of the sci-if is strong, but as it is a fiction, you can relax and enjoy it without a worry about "but is it true", "can it be true?".
  3. 00
    Science: A History by John Gribbin (hungeri)
    hungeri: Mindkét tudományos ismeretterjesző mű történeti megközelítésű ugyanazon szerző tollából. Egyedül a téma különbözik. :-)
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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Just love quantum stuff. I don't understand most of it but little by little some of it sinks in. Particularly like the way the multiverse may or may not be splitting.......

And it's a fantastic education reading about the incredible ideas going on in the minds of people who make the breakthroughs and lay foundations and work out the possibilities..... the same sort of thrill I get knowing Voyager 1 is out there and was made possible by people not unlike me. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
A highly readable and exciting account of a topic that I love. ( )
  drew_asson | Dec 3, 2020 |
Quantum physics is deeply unsettling. The two competing theories that attempt to explain the Schrodinger's cat paradox of the title seem both (to the average person) equally implausible: the Copenhagen interpretation proposes that, until an observer 'fixes' the results of the experiment by opening the box, the cat is neither alive nor dead, but both; the Many Worlds interpretation proposes that quantum indeterminacy results in alternative worlds where both possible outcomes are respectively fulfilled (one universe contains a live cat, another contains the dead one). It's crazy stuff. And it doesn't stop there - but I'll let you read the book for yourself.

However, whilst physicists may not understand why the sub-atomic world behaves the way it does, quantum theory is a hugely powerful tool that has provided the basis for many of the advances of modern science and technology - nuclear energy, lasers, microwaves, computers, even playing a role in the discovery of DNA. In fact, it wouldn't be too strong a claim to say that our modern world would be unthinkable without it. So, in Gribbin's words, we have a 'Quantum cookbook' with which we can exert an extraordinary power over nature, even if we don't fully understand why the recipes work or what the ingredients are.

This is a difficult subject, and Gribbin does an admirable job of attempting to give a full account of the development of quantum theory in clear historical terms whilst also endeavouring to explain its advances in accessible language. However, given the complexity of the material, there are some sections which will leave the layperson baffled. This is perhaps unavoidable, and it would have been worse if the author had succumbed to the temptation to oversimplify. So, I'll probably read it again at some point, and hope that more of it sinks in. Well worth a read, though, and probably - even though it's getting on a bit now - still the classic introduction to the subject.

Gareth Southwell is a philosopher, writer and illustrator.
  Gareth.Southwell | May 23, 2020 |
A very good read. One of the better books I've read on the subject. Recommended. ( )
  scottcholstad | Jan 14, 2020 |
A good introduction to quantum theory and the key players involved in its development. I first read this book in college when it was first published in 1984. After this second reading in 2019, I still don't understand quantum physics.

(If you don't get the following joke, this is the book to read!)

Heisenberg and Schrödinger get pulled over for speeding. The cop asks Heisenberg "Do you know how fast you were going?" Heisenberg replies, "No, but we know exactly where we are!"

The officer looks at him confused and says "you were going 108 miles per hour!" Heisenberg throws his arms up and cries, "Great! Now we're lost!"

The officer looks over the car and asks Schrödinger if the two men have anything in the trunk. "A cat," Schrödinger replies. The cop opens the trunk and yells "Hey! This cat is dead." Schrödinger angrily replies, "Well he is now."


( )
1 vote quietman66 | Dec 30, 2019 |
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Epigraph
I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.
—Erwin Schrödinger
Nothing is real.
—John Lennon
Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.
—Niels Bohr, Part One: The Quantum
All science is either physics or stamp collecting.
—Ernest Rutherford, Part Two: Quantum Mechanics
It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.
—Joseph Joubert, Part Three: ...And Beyond
Dedication
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The cat of our title is a mythical beast, but Schrodinger was a real person.
Isaac Newton invented physics, and all of science depends on physics.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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An astrophysicist offers an introduction to the theoretical principles, practical applications, and far-reaching implications of quantum physics and quantum mechanics.

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À la question : " Qu'est-ce que la réalité ? ", la mécanique quantique apporte des réponses problématiques. Erwin Schrodinger, l'un des grands créateurs de la théorie, auteur de l'équation qui porte son nom, en était si intimement persuadé et choqué qu'il inventa un animal mythique, un chat, dont on ne pourrait dire si, placé dans certaines conditions, il serait mort ou vivant. De fait, jusqu'aux fameuses expériences d'Alain Aspect, menées à Paris en 1982, la question de la réalité n'a cessé d'embarrasser les physiciens. Et pourtant, le succès de la théorie ne s'est jamais démenti, sa fécondité est remarquable, la mécanique quantique est véritablement l'épine dorsale de la science moderne.
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