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Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime Paperback – 31 March 2021
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‘Carroll takes us by the hand and with a benign smile and a chatty style, leads us to a place where…at every instant an almost infinite number of copies of you are splitting off to live alternative lives… a wild conceptual ride.’-- Sunday Times, BOOKS OF THE YEAR
‘Tackling huge questions, myths and conundrums about our Universe is no easy task, but Carroll does so elegantly.’-- BBC Science Focus
'An authoritative and beautifully written account of the quest to understand quantum theory and the origin of space and time.
Sean Carroll is a rare combination of excellent science writer and excellent research scientist. His writing exhibits a clarity of thought that is only available through a deep understanding of the subject. When the book becomes speculative, as it must because it deals with deep and as yet unsolved questions, we know we are in good hands.'― Brian Cox - Broadcaster and Professor of Particle Physics at the University of Manchester
'Something Deeply Hidden is Carroll’s ambitious and engaging foray into what quantum mechanics really means and what it tells us about physical reality.'-- Science Magazine
'As a smart and intensely readable undergraduate class in the history of quantum theory and the nature of quantum mechanics, Something Deeply Hidden could scarcely be improved.'-- Open Letters Monthly ― Steve Donoghue
'Readers in this universe (and others?) will relish the opportunity to explore the frontiers of science in the company of titans.'-- Booklist
'Fans of popular science authors such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and John Gribbin will find great joy while exploring these groundbreaking concepts.'-- Library Journal
'Solid arguments and engaging historical backdrop will captivate science-minded readers everywhere.'-- Scientific Inquirer
'Carroll argues with a healthy restlessness that makes his book more interesting than so many others in the quantum physics genre.'-- Forbes
'If you want to know why some people take [the Everett] approach seriously and what you can do with it, then Carroll’s latest is one of the best popular books on the market.'-- Physics Today
'Be prepared to deal with some equations ― and to have your mind blown.'-- Geek Wire
'By far the most articulate and cogent defence of the Many-Worlds view in book-length depth with a close connection to the latest ongoing research.'-- Science News
'Enlightening and refreshingly bold.'-- Scientific American
'What makes Carroll’s new project so worthwhile, though, is that while he is most certainly choosing sides in the debate, he offers us a cogent, clear and compelling guide to the subject while letting his passion for the scientific questions shine through every page.'-- NPR
‘Like all great writers, Carroll has the remarkable ability of putting the reader utterly at ease with his lucid and addictive prose. He leads you so gently and comfortably into his quantum world that you quickly forget you are being given access to the most profound ideas about the nature of reality.’-- Jim Al-Khalili, author of Quantum Mechanics (A Ladybird Expert Book)
‘A thrilling tour through what is perhaps humankind’s greatest intellectual achievement – quantum mechanics. With bold clarity, Carroll deftly unmasks quantum weirdness to reveal a strange but utterly wondrous reality.’-- Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe
‘Sean Carroll’s immensely enjoyable Something Deeply Hidden brings readers face-to-face with the fundamental quantum weirdness of the universe – or should I say universes? And by the end, you may catch yourself finding quantum weirdness not all that weird.’-- Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong
‘Carroll gives us a front-row seat to the development of a new vision of physics: one that connects our everyday experiences to a dizzying hall-of-mirrors universe in which our very sense of self is challenged. It’s a fascinating idea, and one that just might hold clues to a deeper reality.’-- Katie Mack, theoretical astrophysicist, North Carolina State University, author of The End of Everything (forthcoming)
‘Sean Carroll beautifully clarifies the debate about the foundations of quantum mechanics, and champions the most elegant, courageous approach: the astonishing “Many-Worlds” interpretation. His explanations of its pros and cons are clear, even-handed, and philosophically gobsmacking.’-- Steven Strogatz, author of Infinite Powers
‘[A] challenging, provocative book…moving smoothly through different topics and from objects as small as particles to those as enormous as black holes, Carroll’s exploration of quantum theory introduces readers to some of the most groundbreaking ideas in physics today.’― Publishers Weekly
‘Sean Carroll is always lucid and funny, gratifyingly readable, while still excavating depths… A fascinating and important book.’-- Janna Levin, author of Black Hole Blues
‘Irresistible and an absolute treat to read. While this is a book about some of the deepest current mysteries in physics, it is also a book about metaphysics as Carroll lucidly guides us on how to not only think about the true and hidden nature of reality but also how to make sense of it. I loved this book.’-- Priyamvada Natarajan, theoretical astrophysicist, Yale University, and author of Mapping the Heavens
‘A masterpiece…stands along with Feynman’s QED as one of the two best popularizations of quantum mechanics I’ve ever seen.’-- Scott Aaronson, Professor of Computer Science, University of Texas at Austin, and Director of UT’s Quantum Information Center
‘From physicist Sean Carroll comes a history of quantum discoveries, and a guide to a subject that has baffled and blinded with its potential. Tackling huge questions, myths and conundrums about our Universe is no easy task, but Carroll does so elegantly.’― BBC Science Focus, 70 best science books you need to read in 2021
About the Author
- Publisher : Oneworld Publications (31 March 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1786078368
- ISBN-13 : 978-1786078360
- Item Weight : 270 g
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 2.65 x 19.8 cm
- Country of Origin : India
- Best Sellers Rank: #10,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on 16 January 2022
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This book has been a disappointment, or perhaps even worse: an annoyance!
I don't know if it's the author or the subject matter. I already have a pretty good understanding of our current view of Quantum Physics and I did my best to come to this book and the "Many Worlds" theory with an open mind.
The author claims Many Worlds proponents are taking what has become an almost taboo subject: understanding "the MEANING of Quantum world". He complains that for a long time the accepted practice in the physics world has been to simply accept quantum theory's incredible accuracy and reliability and just "Shut up and Calculate" without looking deeper. He claims Many Worlds does this but I don't see much evidence of it.
Instead, Many Worlds takes the fundamental equations from quantum theory and strips them back to the bare essentials of the Schrodinger Equation. No exceptions or special cases or unexplained reasons for the apparent collaps of the quantum wave function or "electrons deciding".
What is the cost for such streamlined, elegant, pure maths? Nothing less than entire universes being created with every single quantum wave collapse! Nothing major.
These other worlds - unobservable copies of the universe - millions, trillions of them coming into existence every second - the author then repeatedly treats these entire universes as being no big deal and easily ignored. They don't matter, they are irrelevant to us. The millions of versions of "me", differing only by an electron here or there - they're not the "real" me. Me in this world is "me" and the other copies are someone else.
On the question of the "splitting" of the universe upon every quantum decision a local or non-local event? Does it propagate at the speed of light or does it happen everywhere at once? The answer: "Whatever is convenient for you - it's not really a relevant question because, you see, the Schrodinger Equation is satisfied and the quantum wave function continues.
About a quarter of the way through I started to get irked by the author flicking away questions like these with what I belive are poor arguments. By half way through I'm starting to view the author like a Flat Earther who believes what they believe without ever being able to convince me because they are coming from a different set of basic beliefs. The quantum wave function is preserved, the maths is pure. They can happily "shut up and calculate" and to me, haven't really answered anything.
I came with the best open mind I could, but I'm left thinking Many Worlds is simply rubbish. Maybe a different author could explain it better.
The author is obsessed with the Multi-Worlds theory. If I think about tossing a coin 6 times, I can draw a tree diagram showing every possible permutation, but I do not think that the universe has split into 2 universes at each toss. The author also talks about the wave function of the whole universe, which is rather meaningless.
Sadly, physics is political, where different theories have become religions, which seems to be an excuse for a lack of understanding. The research that gets funded is heavily influenced by tribal groups, which is wrong for what should be a science. Maybe that explains the lack of progress in the area.
Whilst Carroll makes no bones about the fact that this is his preferred theory, he also offers a fair - and easily understandable - overview of the alternative interpretations, so the book does a very good job at presenting the most credible options that are available at the present time.
I must confess to having been a complete sceptic as to the plausibility of the Many Worlds interpretation before reading this marvellous tome, but it has at least partly shifted my perspective and I now consider the theory as at least a viable contender, somewhat more credible than the instantaneous collapse of the wave function variants which most people seem to believe in.
As in his excellent series of MindScape podcasts (which I also highly recommend), Carroll takes some incredibly abstuse concepts and makes them comprehensible to just about anyone with an enquiring mind and a willingness to engage with some of the most fantastic concepts the human mind has so far had to ponder. With so few practicising scientists even remotely interested in the foundations of quantum mechanics and all too willing to regard it as a black box Carroll does an excellent job in reminding us that quantum theory still contains within it some very profound mysteries and that much work has yet to be done if we are to understand exactly what quantum mechanics is. It's a sobering thought that our entire civilisation, our entire technological revolution appears to be based on an area of science that has the flimsiest of foundations and which no one really understands...