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Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness Paperback – 21 Jul 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd; 2nd Revised edition edition (21 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071563979X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715639795
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'This excellent book provides patient and luminous explanations... Rosenblum and Kuttner have done a brilliant job of shocking the reader anew' --Guardian

This book is unique. I know of no other which so artfully tackles two of the greatest mysteries of modern science, quantum mechanics and consciousness. It has long been suspected that these mysteries are somehow related: the authors treatment of this thorny and controversial issue is honest, wide-ranging, and immensely readable. The book contains some of the clearest expositions I have ever seen of the strange and paradoxical nature of the quantum world. Quantum Enigma is a pleasure to read, and I am sure it is destined to become a classic --George Greenstein, Professor of Astronomy, Amherst College, Co-author of The Quantum Challenge: Modern Research on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics

'Rosenblum and Kuttner tie together two great mysteries: consciousness and the 'quantum enigma' of how reality coalesces out of the fog of quantum possibilities... an entertaining primer on the nuts and bolts of quantum theory' --New Scientist

About the Author

Bruce Rosenblum is Professor of Physics and former Chairperson of the Physics Department at the University of California. He has consulted extensively for the US government and industry. Fred Kuttner teaches physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


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The closing remark 'We hope your (conclusions), like ours, are tentative' is symptomatic of the 'scientific' attitude of 'if we don't know, you certainly don't know'. The authors progress through an interesting summary of quantum results, then flail around in the realm of consciousness and reality.

They touch on key ideas that are accurate, without recognising that they are so, and then go off on tangents and alternatives that are inaccurate. Unsurprisingly, while all this is going on, they from beginning to end make sure to slap down 'pseudo-science' and 'mysticism', so that even if they honestly recognise their ignorance, at least they're the least ignorant people around, and not mis-guided.

It is a shame, as I actually thought for a moment that they might be 'open-minded' scientists, and perhaps by the measure of other scientists, they are.

Setting aside distractions, such as spirituality, mysticism and God, let us deal with what I might term hyper-science or future-science, to distinguish it from the derogatory 'pseudo-science' and agnostic 'metaphysics'. Hyper-science is that which science could integrate into a scientific framework, but for which it currently lacks the intellectual insight and technology. Future science is the subset of hyper-science that it will recognise.

Science is remarkably acquisitive. Everything is nonsense (non-sense) until proven by science and then it is authorised. I wonder if it will publish an apology, as the Church chose to do for Galileo?

Forget God, a human interpretation of what is 'out there'.
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Format: Paperback
I feel i must champion this fantastic book. I'm a layman and this book has helped no end in my understanding of QM. Infact it is the single most useful text i have come across. I understand that there may be some underlying tension between folk of different views with regards to QM (an understanding born from reading this book, incidentally).

For instance the authors of Quantum Enigma call some other's working in the field out right schizophrenics, as they are able to maintain a duel personality (one which treats as particles, one which treats as waves) hahaa.
Perhaps if you are already well versed, a professional even, with these ideas, then the book may seem somewhat lacking. But for the layman, who is its intended audience after all, this book is most enlightening.

And I take issue with the notion that all this info can be got from an A' level physics book. I'm sure it probably can, just as all this information could probably be deduced from the wikipedia entry on quantum mechanics. If, like me however, you found the wikipedia entry un-enlightening, then try this book out. It is very good.
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First book that made me realise just how hard it can be to pin down reality. The ideas and intepretations related to quantum theory are entertaining to read about (there is a distinctly sci-fi quality to them). How intimately our consciousness is linked to the world around us reminds of some things I have read in Buddhist philosophy. Made me think, wow, some guy sitting under a tree over 2000 years ago had already suggested this and made me all the more impressed with ideas in Buddhist philosophy. The other thing I liked about the book was that it succintly highlighted that science explains how things work, not why. When we ask why is the sky blue, it means how is the sky blue. Science explains mechanisms, and does not provide teleological, existential theories. It is important to remember that.
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I've read a lot of books concerning QM and this is the best of them all.
It achieves this lofty position because it manages to make sense of the quantum enigma without going into too much mathematical detail.
I'm not a physicist, nor am I a genius but I am curious and this curiosity was satisfied because the authors managed to take heed of Einstein's wise words when he stated, 'You can only really understand something if you are able to explain it to your grandmother'.
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excellent book well explained
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An excellent book, requiring some thought - not an easy read, but I didn't want that. Also, the Kindle app is very good and easy to use.
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This book is fascinating. If I had read this book when I was younger, I would have certainly taken my physics learning to higher education. Both quantum physics and consciousness remain arguably the two most mysterious elements of nature. Even if I managed to know everything there is to find out about neural correlates, something still appears to be missing from the explanation of why I am conscious (what is doing the experiencing?) (i.e. the hard problem of consciousness, for those not versed in the philosophy of the mind). Quantum physics seems largely counterintuitive, especially when hidden variables have apparently been disproved (I got lost in following John Stewart Bell's maths). By linking quantum mechanics with consciousness, in my opinion the authors have managed to shed some light on both these mysteries.
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