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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read; a must-reread, a must-study-closely.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Quantum Reality (Paperback)Herbert objectively discusses quantum 'reality', and does not bog the reader down with
attempts to link quantum theory to religion or new-age science; rather the focus is first
on discussing how some actual experiments simply defy explanation via classical physics;
and secondly on explaining the new thinking that some physicists have utilized in their
attempts to make sense out of these experimental results. This book gives you 'quantum
weirdness' without the fluff: the lay reader will learn more about quantum theory from
this book than from any other single book out there.
67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to quantum physics, or for those who have been there before, a valuable alternative approach.,
This review is from: Quantum Reality (Paperback)The front cover of "Quantum Reality" has the subtext "Beyond the new Physics, an Excursion into Metaphysics and The Meaning of Reality", a label that might tend to frighten one off. That would be a great pity, because anyone interested in physics and popular science will find this book very rewarding.
Being interested in popular science myself, I have read quite a number of books over the years dealing with the general evolution of scientific knowledge. Some of these books have been more accessible than others, some more specific in content, some very enjoyable and others not so. Many of these books have dealt to some degree with quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics, or quantum physics, deals with the world of the very small, the atomic and sub-atomic world. Strange, counter intuitive, illogical things appear to happen there. That world is too small to observe directly, so it can be explored only through the experimental observation of its effects, and through theory and mathematics. The experimental and mathematical verification of basic quantum theory is staggeringly convincing. But nobody, absolutely nobody, knows what reality it describes, or how it works. The famous and brilliant physicist Richard Feynman once said "I think that it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics".
All this might seem a little discouraging to the potential reader. But if you have an interest in the subject, however slight, I recommend this book highly. Nick Herbert has produced a fine work which treats the subject in a non-sensationalist and comprehensible manner - inasmuch as quantum physics can ever be comprehensible. You don't have to have any math to enjoy it, just an open and inquiring mind. The book can be an introduction to the subject or, for those who have been there before, a valuable alternative approach. As another famous scientist once said (his name escapes me) "The world is not only stranger than we think it is; it's stranger than we CAN think it is". All very intriguing, stimulating and enjoyable stuff.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction for the interested lay person.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Quantum Reality (Paperback)For those souls wearied of a cut and dried world, read this book! Quantum Reality is appropriately titled, as Herbert explores the ideas of reality inspired by quantum physics. And boy does it get weird. He quotes Richard Feynman up front warning against asking "How can it be so?", and then devotes the book to exactly that attempt. The subject is abstruse, but Herbert offsets some (not too much) technical talk with vivid images and quotes. The reader can choose to "bleep over" the hard parts and still finish with a renewed sense of wonder at the universe we live in. This is an important, edifying and deeply enjoyable book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading but not for beginners.,
This review is from: Quantum Reality (Paperback)Having read most popular science books on Quantum Physics (QP), I am familiar with all the real and thought experiments described in this book. Even so, I found Dr Herbert's descriptions surprisingly taxing so cannot recommend the book as an introduction to QP.
Nevertheless, and despite the fact that the book almost 25 years old, Dr Herbert presents some QP ideas that I have not encountered elsewhere, making this book truly essential reading for any layperson with more than a passing interest in the subject.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice little book, Gives a detailed look in Quantum.,
This review is from: Quantum Reality (Paperback)Its a very nice book overall.
Its a bit tough sometimes, but it is supposed to be. I thought it was more updated than what it actually was, (its a 1985 book) i didnt realize that when i was ordering it. Anyway it lacks some modern conclusions, but it is nice ... it can help you follow all the little steps that lead us to nowadays findings more thoroughtly. It is a detailed book considering it is popular science, and that is good.
64 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Reality Crisis and the relevance of Bell's Theorem.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Quantum Reality (Paperback)This book by Nick Herbert comes as a breath of fresh air amidst a myriad of similar books which usually do not stick to the meat of the matter but wander off into eastern mysticism and new age philosophies. Mr. Herbert's treatment of the strange and equally controversial world of quantum physics is very direct and pointed and he is quite successful in putting across his analysis, insights and thoughts to the general reader.
"Quantum Reality" as the title suggests explains the various interpretations of quantum reality underlying the quantum facts. There are in fact eight of them. Majority of physicists swear allegiance to the "Copenhagen Interpretation" formalized by Bohr and Heisenberg. This interpretation denies any deep reality underlying our physical reality and imparts special status to the observer or the measuring device which is said to "create" certain attributes like position, momentum, spin orientation etc. of a quantum entity (photon, electron etc.) during the act of measurement. Before measurement, i.e. an unmeasured quantum entity is said to be "less real" than our everyday reality and resides in a ghostly realm of mere possibilities and tendencies (a state between an idea of an event and the actual event) - it's attributes like position and direction of motion, NON-EXISTANT. Bohr said that there is no quantum world, only abstract quantum description and according to Heisenberg - the very foundation of our everyday world is no more substantial than a promise!
The well known Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox which seemed to suggest a superluminal communication(non-local world) between a pair of phase-entangled photons(or in contradiction accept Einstein's "elements of reality"(local world) which he said was somehow missing from quantum theory and thus the theory being incomplete) gave rise to the Bell's interconnectedness theorem which in one decisive stroke resolved the crisis brewing between the "neorealist"(object based reality) and the "copenhagenist"(quantum entities are not "things"). Bell's Theorem stated that any local-based reality is impossible, hence our reality has to be NON-LOCAL (it has since been experimentally proven). This statement came as a bombshell as this was in conflict to our concept of local based physical reality. Non-locality simply means that any action-at-a-distance is without a medium, is instantaneous (superluminal) and doesn't diminish with distance.
This book is a serious attempt by Mr. Herbert in explaining to the enthusiast as well as the general reader the finer point about quantum physics and about the quantum lifestyle enjoyed by its inhabitants. In the words of a reviewer on the back cover - "even a neophyte gets the feeling he is "almosting it".
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun romp through quantum physics,
By A Customer
This review is from: Quantum Reality (Paperback)This book just flew by. It is loads of fun. That is absolutely not to imply that it is simplistic however. It is mainly concerned with the garnder implications of quantum theory, and every once in a while, one needs to indulge those urges to ask the crazy questions about this crazy theory.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The basic metaphysics of Quantum Physics,
This review is from: Quantum Reality (Paperback)This is a great book by Nick Herbert. This is a book that deals with the interpretation of Quantum Physics. But its importance is that it deals not with a 'spiritual' or 'mystical' understanding of quantum physics but with how scientists and physicists themselves interpret quantum physics. It is a book of pure science and there is no quantum mysticism involved here.
Nick Lembert discusses basically eight different interpretations of quantum physics. These include the Copenhagen interpretation, Feynman's interpretation, the 'multiple worlds' interpretation, etc. All these interpretations are the work of the greatest physicists in quantum physics. These are the ways in which the scientists understand how physics work. They are not important in getting the results of quantum dynamics, the maths of quantum physics works independently of which interpretation we may choose to believe.
And this is where Herbert shows the craziness of quantum physics: although all these interpretations are radically different from each other, they can all explain quantum physics equally well. Neither we, the non-physicists, nor the greatest physicists in the world, really know what actually is going on in this strange little world, whether the particles are behaving according to the Copehnhagen interpretation, the multiple world explanation, etc. Herbert handles this very well, we get a sense of why Feynman said, 'just shut up and calculate'. Scientists dont understand the basic reality of quantum physics either!
Another very useful thing I took away from the book was the explanation of the wave equations of Quantum Physics. Herbert does a fine job of showing what exactly waves are and how physics describes the particles as waves and what this means. This again shows up the mysteriousness of Quantum Physics in another way.
All in all, I would call this a very important book to understand the general principles of quantum physics, one that is vital because it sets out the different interpretations in a very clear and comprehensible manner.
--P.J.Mazumdar, author of The Circle of Fire: The Metaphysics of Yoga
4.0 out of 5 stars Science over Metaphysics,
This review is from: Quantum Reality (Paperback)Heavier on Quantum Physics than Metaphysics. Philosophers without the science and mathematics will struggle. Food for thought but comes against the same difficulty of bringing together the objectified and metaphysical realm of reality and the self.
25 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surely the Classic for any Self-made quantum realitor,
By A Customer
This review is from: Quantum Reality (Paperback)This is considered the basic bible on the essence of the actual facts as they pertain to the subject of quantum reality, very entertainingly readable for all. Herbert, I believe, is my favorite lay-level writer on the subject.
This is one of the only lay books on this subject that I never saw or heard of any flack, even midly, about, from even the most credentialled pencil wizard.
I would consider it a must for any self-styled quantum realitor who 'mightsum thimk' they be worth their salt!
Start here, with this book - surely.
It is a bit dated , there have been more experiments since....and it appears, last I heard, things were getting a lot worse. God is the only answer.
I would like to see a work like this more up to date. In fact, what we need is the "Quantum Reality Bible" arranged like an encyclopedia of Reality. Something expandable...perhaps on Disk or CD. Add the new ones as they arrive.
Mainstream College Philosophy is ROAST. Why bother teaching it anymore? Totally a billion years
behind the scientific times. Philosophy, in my opinion, rests upon whatever the scientific facts are of the day, and when the facts speak....
Van Vogt,SF writer,is perhaps far more closer to home than the entire mainstream philosophy curriculum.
Interesting subject, I recommend the book HIGHLY, if not neccesary enough to be mandatory for philosophy curricula.
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Quantum Reality by Nick Herbert (Paperback - 1 July 1988)
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