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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., 8 Jun. 2002
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".
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