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on 27 September 2012
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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on 22 March 2017
Couldn't put this down first time I read it and keep coming back to it. Good primer and springboard for the whole topic.
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on 9 May 2016
Good Read. Enjoyable.
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on 25 May 2017
An extremely well explained view of the link between relativity and quantum theory that logically steps you towards a plausible conclusion.
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on 30 October 2015
Andrew Thomas writes and explains physics for the layman. Very interesting stuff.
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on 15 July 2012
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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on 9 August 2013
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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on 7 September 2014
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.
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on 29 July 2013
Well written, avoids just repeating other books and walking through history. What I would love to see is a followup with some projections or predictions that might be experimentally viable, or better still
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on 15 April 2017
It is better than counting sheep.
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