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Hidden In Plain Sight: The simple link between relativity and quantum mechanics [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Thomas
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Book Description

You never knew theoretical physics could be so simple! In this exciting and significant book, Andrew Thomas clearly illustrates the simplicity which lies behind nature at its fundamental level. It is revealed how all unifications in physics have been based on incredibly simple ideas.

Using a logical approach, it is explained how the great 20th century theories of relativity and quantum mechanics share a common base, and how they can be linked using an idea so simple that anyone can understand it.

An idea which is so simple it has been hidden in plain sight.

Product Description

About the Author

Andrew Thomas studied physics in the James Clerk Maxwell Building in Edinburgh University, and received his doctorate from Swansea University in 1992. He is the author of the What Is Reality? website (, one of the most popular websites dealing with questions of the fundamentals of physics. It has been called “The best online introduction to quantum theory”.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1439 KB
  • Print Length: 217 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,459 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Andrew Thomas studied physics in the James Clerk Maxwell Building in Edinburgh University, and received his doctorate from Swansea University in 1992.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars relativity and quantum mechanics - explore the link 27 Sept. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yes, I'm a bit of a sucker for this kind of book. But this is a serious study written with extreme clarity - and not a little humour.
Physicists, Andrew Thomas says, take a `top down' approach - for example researching ever smaller particles. But, he argues, this can never provide final 'answers' for science: There will always be something beyond the latest research.
Instead, Thomas uses an approach based on logical 'fundamentals' - starting at the bottom as it were, and working upwards.
In this way Thomas explores and explains the relationship between special relativity and quantum mechanics (crudely, between the macro world and the micro world)
I found the logic totally convincing. The answers, for example, to puzzles about counter-intuitive phenomena in quantum mechanics, are staring us in the face Thomas thinks - hence the title.
Thomas says that this approach using fundamentals is seen by science as an area for philosophy, so it is not currently receiving much attention from physicists. It seems to me that this is a serious loss because the top-down and bottom-up approaches should be complementary.

Kindle: The diagrams are clear and humorous. At 77p it is great value. No typos.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely provocative read 15 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book as I was interested in both general relativity and the quantum and, having read several books on the subject, I was keen on the 'why' rather than just the 'what'. This book was perfect in that regard; it is the most thought-provoking book I've read on the subject and hugely convincing. It is an attempt to derive and interpret physical theory from the bottom up (from easy to understand principles) rather than the usual 'top-down' approach. Thomas takes as his starting point the basic principle that 'there is nothing outside the universe' and from this convincingly derives, by way of simple analogy, an astonishing amount of both quantum and relativity theory. I have a physics degree from many years ago and was delighted to see stuff I'd learned because I had to spring out from basic principles. I'm not qualified to decide the scientific merit of the book's theme but I found it genuinely moving and utterly fascinating. For me it's the best book I've read on the subject. One of those books you think about for a long time afterwards.

Some details: only one equation in the book and this used only as a demo, you don't need to know any maths. Of the many analogies in the book, only one or two I found a bit vague - reading on sorted that out. Lastly, the author's website, quoted in the references, has some great material in the same vein.

Finally, the author has nothing to say about the subject of a God, but while reading this book, the subject sprang to my mind many times. To find so much necessity emerging from the assumption that the universe is all that exists drives the reader to consider more than just the physics. Read that whichever way you will! 10/10 - I'd have paid a lot more for this.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars KISS principle in a nutshell. 9 Aug. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is my second read of this fascinating book as I have just bought the sequel. I sincerely hope the author is correct in his "link" of the two main branches of physics.
I have read a few popular science books now and I must admit that some of the coverage of quantum physics I find confusing. While there are many vested interests in research, physicists must eat too, I sometimes feel that the approach taken i.e. top down, needs to be reassessed. This book does this concisely and with a hefty dose of what appears to me as common sense. Andrew Thomas can patently see the wood despite the trees and this book is an object lesson in looking at the big (universal) picture. The last science I did was over 40 years ago at school yet I found this book easy to read and follow and have no hesitation in recommending it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Hidden in Plain Sight" is an interesting read. In many years of reading popular science books, this is the first I think I can say (on these subjects) that I completely understood. As a non physicist and non-mathematician, this is not an endorsement of the argument, which I am unqualified to give, but it is an endorsement of the quality of explanation.

The central argument, that relativity and QM are actually much more alike than is generally thought - and that we would do better to concentrate on the similarities rather than being awestruck by the apparent oddities of both - seemed to me to make a lot of sense. That the book contains no mathematics is no drawback in my view, as I would be unlikely to benefit from it anyway.

The final verdict, of course, must come from those who do understand the mathematics and I would be interested to hear what actual physicists have to say about it. They may well say that the argument is dead wrong, or correct , but obvious. Yet if it is obvious, I do not recall encountering it elsewhere. "Plain sight" indeed.

At any rate, the book is eminently readable and well worth far more than the Kindle price.
If you are interested in a non-mathematical and rather unusual look at this subject, for less than the price of a bar of chocolate, I strongly advise you to give it a shot.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but not so simple
I hardly think i am qualified to challenge the views expressed here, but i do have one comment to make re the example given on page 182. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ian Nicholson
4.0 out of 5 stars Stimulating science
I enjoyed reading this as a someone with limited scientific background. It encourages further exploration.
Published 1 month ago by Helenix
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 1 month ago by phil
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Too obscure, it was on Kindle and I erased it.
Published 3 months ago by P SOWERBUTTS
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great ideas Excellent presentation.
Published 3 months ago by robwrites
3.0 out of 5 stars All Perfectly Obvious
Andrew Thomas's take on the relationship between quantum mechanics and relativity is new to me and interesting, as is his methodology - "working from the bottom upwards". Read more
Published 4 months ago by Val
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very interesting
Published 5 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Though I'm sure there are many conflicting views, the ...
Though I'm sure there are many conflicting views, the author makes a simple and powerful argument for just how obvious the link between relativity and quantum mechanics is.
Published 5 months ago by Frank J. Ivins
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking
This was a refreshing read with a very interesting approach to linking quantum theory and relativity from first principles considering what the two have in common.
Published 5 months ago by KenE
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
ideas are clearly presented and thoroughly explained. A must read for those who have an interest in quantum mechanics or the 'quest' to find the fundamental theory of the universe.
Published 5 months ago by A Londoner
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