The Quantum Mechanics of Minds and Worlds

Author: Jeffrey A. Barrett

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191583251


Page: 284

View: 2242

Jeffrey Barrett presents the most comprehensive study yet of a problem that has puzzled physicists and philosophers since the 1930s. The standard theory of quantum mechanics is in one sense the most successful physical theory ever, predicting the behaviour of the basic constituents of all physical things; no other theory has ever made such accurate empirical predictions. However, if one tries to understand the theory as providing a complete and accurate framework for the description of the behaviour of all physical interactions, it becomes evident that the theory is ambiguous, or even logically inconsistent. The most notable attempt to formulate the theory so as to deal with this problem, the quantum measurement problem, was initiated by Hugh Everett III in the 1950s. Barrett gives a careful and challenging examination and evaluation of the work of Everett and those who have followed him. His informal approach, minimizing technicality, will make the book accessible and illuminating for philosophers and physicists alike. Anyone interested in the interpretation of quantum mechanics should read it.

Many Worlds?

Everett, Quantum Theory, & Reality

Author: Simon Saunders,Jonathan Barrett,Adrian Kent,David Wallace

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191614114

Category: Philosophy

Page: 636

View: 9217

What does realism about the quantum state imply? What follows when quantum theory is applied without restriction, if need be, to the whole universe? These are the questions which an illustrious team of philosophers and physicists debate in this volume. All the contributors are agreed on realism, and on the need, or the aspiration, for a theory that unites micro- and macroworlds, at least in principle. But the further claim argued by some is that if you allow the Schrödinger equation unrestricted application, supposing the quantum state to be something physically real, then this universe is one of countlessly many others, constantly branching in time, all of which are real. The result is the many worlds theory, also known as the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. The contrary claim sees this picture of many worlds as in no sense inherent in quantum mechanics, even when the latter is allowed unrestricted scope and even given that the quantum state itself is something physically real. For this picture of branching worlds fails to make physical sense, let alone common sense, even on its own terms. The status of these worlds, what they are made of, is never adequately explained. Ordinary ideas about time and identity over time become hopelessly compromised. The concept of probability itself is brought into question. This picture of many branching worlds is inchoate, it is a vision, an error. There are realist alternatives to many worlds, some even that preserve the Schrödinger equation unchanged. Twenty specially written essays, accompanied by commentaries and discussions, examine these claims and counterclaims in depth. They focus first on the question of ontology, the existence of worlds (Part 1 and 2), second on the interpretation of probability (Parts 3 and 4), and third on alternatives or additions to many worlds (Parts 5 and 6). The introduction offers a helpful guide to the arguments for the Everett interpretation, particularly as they have been formulated in the last two decades.

The Quantum World

The Disturbing Theory at the Heart of Reality

Author: New Scientist

Publisher: Nicholas Brealey

ISBN: 185788969X

Category: Science

Page: 228

View: 4813

Quantum theory is our very best description of the microscopic world of atoms and their constituents. It has given us lasers, computers and nuclear reactors, and even tells us how the sun shines and why the ground beneath our feet is solid. Yet the quantum world defies our sensibilities - it is a place where objects can be in two places at once, influence each other at opposite sides of the cosmos and nothing is as it seems until you measure it. Why is the quantum world so strange? Where does it begin and end? And what does this mean for the bedrock of reality? In attempting to address such frontier questions, physicists have come to realise that the quantum world promises exciting new technologies: the ability to communicate with absolute security, computers more powerful than anything built before and even quantum teleportation. In The Quantum World, leading physicists and New Scientist take us on journey through the quantum world, its mind-bending properties and the technologies transforming our world. There is a sting in the tale: is quantum theory truly the ultimate theory of reality?

Quantum Ontology

A Guide to the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics

Author: Peter J. Lewis

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190618795

Category: Science

Page: 240

View: 336

Metaphysicians should pay attention to quantum mechanics. Why? Not because it provides definitive answers to many metaphysical questions-the theory itself is remarkably silent on the nature of the physical world, and the various interpretations of the theory on offer present conflicting ontological pictures. Rather, quantum mechanics is essential to the metaphysician because it reshapes standard metaphysical debates and opens up unforeseen new metaphysical possibilities. Even if quantum mechanics provides few clear answers, there are good reasons to think that any adequate understanding of the quantum world will result in a radical reshaping of our classical world-view in some way or other. Whatever the world is like at the atomic scale, it is almost certainly not the swarm of particles pushed around by forces that is often presupposed. This book guides readers through the theory of quantum mechanics and its implications for metaphysics in a clear and accessible way. The theory and its various interpretations are presented with a minimum of technicality. The consequences of these interpretations for metaphysical debates concerning realism, indeterminacy, causation, determinism, holism, and individuality (among other topics) are explored in detail, stressing the novel form that the debates take given the empirical facts in the quantum domain. While quantum mechanics may not deliver unconditional pronouncements on these issues, the range of possibilities consistent with our knowledge of the empirical world is relatively small-and each possibility is metaphysically revisionary in some way. This book will appeal to researchers, students, and anybody else interested in how science informs our world-view.

Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics

Collected Papers on Quantum Philosophy

Author: J. S. Bell

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521523387

Category: Science

Page: 248

View: 4857

John Bell, FRS was one of the leading expositors and interpreters of modern quantum theory. He is particularly famous for his discovery of the crucial difference between the predictions of conventional quantum mechanics and the implications of local causality, a concept insisted on by Einstein. John Bell's work played a major role in the development of our current understanding of the profound nature of quantum concepts and of the fundamental limitations they impose on the applicability of the classical ideas of space, time and locality. This book includes all of John Bell's published and unpublished papers on the conceptual and philosophical problems of quantum mechanics, including two papers that appeared after the first edition was published. The book includes a short Preface written by the author for the first edition, and also an introduction by Alain Aspect that puts into context John Bell's enormous contribution to the quantum philosophy debate.

Quantum Questions

Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists

Author: Ken Wilber

Publisher: Shambhala Publications

ISBN: 0834822830

Category: Philosophy

Page: 224

View: 9101

Here is a collection of writings that bridges the gap between science and religion. Quantum Questions collects the mystical writings of each of the major physicists involved in the discovery of quantum physics and relativity, including Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, and Max Planck. The selections are written in nontechnical language and will be of interest to scientists and nonscientists alike.

Shadows of the Mind

A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness

Author: Roger Penrose

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780195106466

Category: Computers

Page: 457

View: 1742

Presenting a look at the human mind's capacity while criticizing artificial intelligence, the author makes suggestions about classical and quantum physics and the role of microtubules

The Emergent Multiverse

Quantum Theory according to the Everett Interpretation

Author: David Wallace

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191057398

Category: Science

Page: 548

View: 2888

The Emergent Multiverse presents a striking new account of the 'many worlds' approach to quantum theory. The point of science, it is generally accepted, is to tell us how the world works and what it is like. But quantum theory seems to fail to do this: taken literally as a theory of the world, it seems to make crazy claims: particles are in two places at once; cats are alive and dead at the same time. So physicists and philosophers have often been led either to give up on the idea that quantum theory describes reality, or to modify or augment the theory. The Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics takes the apparent craziness seriously, and asks, 'what would it be like if particles really were in two places at once, if cats really were alive and dead at the same time'? The answer, it turns out, is that if the world were like that—if it were as quantum theory claims—it would be a world that, at the macroscopic level, was constantly branching into copies—hence the more sensationalist name for the Everett interpretation, the 'many worlds theory'. But really, the interpretation is not sensationalist at all: it simply takes quantum theory seriously, literally, as a description of the world. Once dismissed as absurd, it is now accepted by many physicists as the best way to make coherent sense of quantum theory. David Wallace offers a clear and up-to-date survey of work on the Everett interpretation in physics and in philosophy of science, and at the same time provides a self-contained and thoroughly modern account of it—an account which is accessible to readers who have previously studied quantum theory at undergraduate level, and which will shape the future direction of research by leading experts in the field.

The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III

Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family

Author: Peter Byrne

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191655228

Category: Science

Page: 456

View: 2880

Peter Byrne tells the story of Hugh Everett III (1930-1982), whose "many worlds" theory of multiple universes has had a profound impact on physics and philosophy. Using Everett's unpublished papers (recently discovered in his son's basement) and dozens of interviews with his friends, colleagues, and surviving family members, Byrne paints, for the general reader, a detailed portrait of the genius who invented an astonishing way of describing our complex universe from the inside. Everett's mathematical model (called the "universal wave function") treats all possible events as "equally real", and concludes that countless copies of every person and thing exist in all possible configurations spread over an infinity of universes: many worlds. Afflicted by depression and addictions, Everett strove to bring rational order to the professional realms in which he played historically significant roles. In addition to his famous interpretation of quantum mechanics, Everett wrote a classic paper in game theory; created computer algorithms that revolutionized military operations research; and performed pioneering work in artificial intelligence for top secret government projects. He wrote the original software for targeting cities in a nuclear hot war; and he was one of the first scientists to recognize the danger of nuclear winter. As a Cold Warrior, he designed logical systems that modeled "rational" human and machine behaviors, and yet he was largely oblivious to the emotional damage his irrational personal behavior inflicted upon his family, lovers, and business partners. He died young, but left behind a fascinating record of his life, including correspondence with such philosophically inclined physicists as Niels Bohr, Norbert Wiener, and John Wheeler. These remarkable letters illuminate the long and often bitter struggle to explain the paradox of measurement at the heart of quantum physics. In recent years, Everett's solution to this mysterious problem - the existence of a universe of universes - has gained considerable traction in scientific circles, not as science fiction, but as an explanation of physical reality.

Compendium of Quantum Physics

Concepts, Experiments, History and Philosophy

Author: Daniel Greenberger,Klaus Hentschel,Friedel Weinert

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9783540706267

Category: Science

Page: 901

View: 703

With contributions by leading quantum physicists, philosophers and historians, this comprehensive A-to-Z of quantum physics provides a lucid understanding of key concepts of quantum theory and experiment. It covers technical and interpretational aspects alike, and includes both traditional and new concepts, making it an indispensable resource for concise, up-to-date information about the many facets of quantum physics.

The Everett Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

Collected Works 1955-1980 with Commentary

Author: Jeffrey A. Barrett,Peter Byrne

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400842743

Category: Science

Page: 392

View: 5438

Hugh Everett III was an American physicist best known for his many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which formed the basis of his PhD thesis at Princeton University in 1957. Although counterintuitive, Everett's revolutionary formulation of quantum mechanics offers the most direct solution to the infamous quantum measurement problem--that is, how and why the singular world of our experience emerges from the multiplicities of alternatives available in the quantum world. The many-worlds interpretation postulates the existence of multiple universes. Whenever a measurement-like interaction occurs, the universe branches into relative states, one for each possible outcome of the measurement, and the world in which we find ourselves is but one of these many, but equally real, possibilities. Everett's challenge to the orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics was met with scorn from Niels Bohr and other leading physicists, and Everett subsequently abandoned academia to conduct military operations research. Today, however, Everett's formulation of quantum mechanics is widely recognized as one of the most controversial but promising physical theories of the last century. In this book, Jeffrey Barrett and Peter Byrne present the long and short versions of Everett's thesis along with a collection of his explanatory writings and correspondence. These primary source documents, many of them newly discovered and most unpublished until now, reveal how Everett's thinking evolved from his days as a graduate student to his untimely death in 1982. This definitive volume also features Barrett and Byrne's introductory essays, notes, and commentary that put Everett's extraordinary theory into historical and scientific perspective and discuss the puzzles that still remain.

Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse


Author: Julian Brown

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 0743242637

Category: Computers

Page: 400

View: 6665

The traditional and ubiquitous digital computer has changed the world by processing series of binary ones and zeroes...very fast. Like the sideshow juggler spinning plates on billiard cues, the classical computer moves fast enough to keep the plates from falling off. As computers become faster and faster, more and more plates are being added to more and more cues. Imagine, then, a computer in which speed is increased not because it runs faster, but because it has a limitless army of different jugglers, one for each billiard cue. Imagine the quantum computer. Julian Brown's record of the quest for the Holy Grail of computing -- a computer that could, in theory, take seconds to perform calculations that would take today's fastest supercomputers longer than the age of the universe -- is an extraordinary tale, populated by a remarkable cast of characters, including David Deutsch of Oxford University, who first announced the possibility of computation in the Alice-in-Wonderland world of quantum mechanics; Ed Fredkin, who developed a new kind of logic gate as a true step toward universal computation; and the legendary Richard Feynman, who reasoned from the inability to model quantum mechanics on a classical computer the logical inevitability of quantum computing. For, in the fuzzily indeterminate world of the quantum, new computing power is born. Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse details the remarkable uses for quantum computing in code breaking, for quantum computers will be able to crack many of the leading methods of protecting secret information, while offering new unbreakable codes. Quantum computers will also be able to model nuclear and subatomic reactions; offer insights into nanotechnology, teleportation, and time travel; and perhaps change the way chemists and biotechnologists design drugs and study the molecules of life. Farthest along the trail blazed by these pioneers is the ability to visualize the multiple realities of the quantum world not as a mathematical abstraction, but as a real map to a world of multiple universes...a multiverse where every possible event -- from a particular chess move to a comet striking the Earth -- not only can happen, but does. Incorporating lively explanations of ion trap gates, nuclear magnetic resonance computers, quantum dots, quantum algorithms, Fourier transforms, and puzzles of quantum physics, and illustrated with dozens of vivid diagrams, Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse is a mind-stretching look at the still-unbuilt but fascinating machines that, in the words of physicist Stanley Williams, "will reshape the face of science" and offer a new window into the secrets of an infinite number of potential universes.

The Physics Of Consciousness

The Quantum Mind And The Meaning Of Life

Author: Evan Harris Walker

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 9780738202341

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 8839

For decades, neuroscientists, psychologists, and an army of brain researchers have been struggling, in vain, to explain the phenomenon of consciousness. Now there is a clear trail to the answer, and it leads through the dense jungle of quantum physics, Zen, and subjective experience, and arrives at an unexpected destination.In this tour-de-force of scientific investigation, Evan Harris Walker, a pioneer in the science of consciousness, describes the outcome of his fifty-year search for the true nature of reality. Drawing on a deep knowledge of quantum physics and Zen philosophy, Walker shows how the operation of bizarre yet actual properties of elementary particles support a new and exciting theory of reality, based on the principles of quantum physics; a theory that answers questions such as “What is the nature of consciousness, of will?” “What is the source of material reality?” and “What is God?”Clearly written in non-technical, lyrical prose, The Physics of Consciousness is more than just the explanation of a science—it is a new vision of life.

Through Two Doors at Once

The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality

Author: Anil Ananthaswamy

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101986115

Category: Science

Page: 304

View: 4659

The intellectual adventure story of the "double-slit" experiment, showing how a sunbeam split into two paths first challenged our understanding of light and then the nature of reality itself--and continues to almost 200 years later. Many of the greatest scientific minds have grappled with this experiment. Thomas Young devised it in the early 1800s to show that light behaves like a wave, and in doing so opposed Isaac Newton's view that light is made of particles. But then Albert Einstein showed that light comes in quanta, or particles. Quantum mechanics was born. This led to a fierce debate between Einstein and Niels Bohr over the nature of reality--subatomic bits of matter and its interaction with light--again as revealed by the double-slit experiment. Richard Feynman held that it embodies the central mystery of the quantum world. Decade after decade, hypothesis after hypothesis, scientists have returned to this ingenious experiment to help them answer deeper and deeper questions about the fabric of the universe. How can a single particle behave both like a particle and a wave? Does a particle, or indeed reality, exist before we look at it, or does looking create reality, as the textbook "Copenhagen interpretation" of quantum mechanics seems to suggest? How can particles influence each other faster than the speed of light? Is there a place where the quantum world ends and the familiar classical world of our daily lives begins, and if so, can we find it? And if there's no such place, then does the universe split into two each time a particle goes through the double-slit? Through Two Doors at Once celebrates the elegant simplicity of an iconic experiment and its profound reach. With his extraordinarily gifted eloquence, Anil Ananthaswamy travels around the world, through history and down to the smallest scales of physical reality we have yet fathomed. It is the most fantastic voyage you can take.

The Quantum Story

A history in 40 moments

Author: Jim Baggott

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191604291

Category: Science

Page: 496

View: 8739

The twentieth century was defined by physics. From the minds of the world's leading physicists there flowed a river of ideas that would transport mankind to the pinnacle of wonderment and to the very depths of human despair. This was a century that began with the certainties of absolute knowledge and ended with the knowledge of absolute uncertainty. It was a century in which physicists developed weapons with the capacity to destroy our reality, whilst at the same time denying us the possibility that we can ever properly comprehend it. Almost everything we think we know about the nature of our world comes from one theory of physics. This theory was discovered and refined in the first thirty years of the twentieth century and went on to become quite simply the most successful theory of physics ever devised. Its concepts underpin much of the twenty-first century technology that we have learned to take for granted. But its success has come at a price, for it has at the same time completely undermined our ability to make sense of the world at the level of its most fundamental constituents. Rejecting the fundamental elements of uncertainty and chance implied by quantum theory, Albert Einstein once famously declared that 'God does not play dice'. Niels Bohr claimed that anybody who is not shocked by the theory has not understood it. The charismatic American physicist Richard Feynman went further: he claimed that nobody understands it. This is quantum theory, and this book tells its story. Jim Baggott presents a celebration of this wonderful yet wholly disconcerting theory, with a history told in forty episodes — significant moments of truth or turning points in the theory's development. From its birth in the porcelain furnaces used to study black body radiation in 1900, to the promise of stimulating new quantum phenomena to be revealed by CERN's Large Hadron Collider over a hundred years later, this is the extraordinary story of the quantum world. Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.

The Quantum Universe

(and why Anything that Can Happen, Does)

Author: Brian Cox,Jeffrey Robert Forshaw

Publisher: Da Capo Press

ISBN: 0306819643

Category: Science

Page: 255

View: 6056

The authors of the best-selling Why Does E=MC2? render fundamental scientific principles in the areas of quantum mechanics comprehensive and engaging to lay readers, working through obscure and vague aspects to explain related natural world observations, how the quantum world was constructed and why it is important. 15,000 first printing.


A Guide For The Perplexed

Author: Jim Al-Khalili

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

ISBN: 1780225342

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 5395

From Schrodinger's cat to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, this book untangles the weirdness of the quantum world. Quantum mechanics underpins modern science and provides us with a blueprint for reality itself. And yet it has been said that if you're not shocked by it, you don't understand it. But is quantum physics really so unknowable? Is reality really so strange? And just how can cats be half-alive and half-dead at the same time? Our journey into the quantum begins with nature's own conjuring trick, in which we discover that atoms -- contrary to the rules of everyday experience -- can exist in two locations at once. To understand this we travel back to the dawn of the twentieth century and witness the birth of quantum theory, which over the next one hundred years was to overthrow so many of our deeply held notions about the nature of our universe. Scientists and philosophers have been left grappling with its implications every since.

The Wave Function

Essays on the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics

Author: Alyssa Ney,David Z Albert

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190240725

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 1040

This is a new volume of original essays on the metaphysics of quantum mechanics. The essays address questions such as: What fundamental metaphysics is best motivated by quantum mechanics? What is the ontological status of the wave function? Does quantum mechanics support the existence of any other fundamental entities, e.g. particles? What is the nature of the fundamental space (or space-time manifold) of quantum mechanics? What is the relationship between the fundamental ontology of quantum mechanics and ordinary, macroscopic objects like tables, chairs, and persons? This collection includes a comprehensive introduction with a history of quantum mechanics and the debate over its metaphysical interpretation focusing especially on the main realist alternatives.

Quantum Mind and Social Science

Author: Alexander Wendt

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107082544

Category: Psychology

Page: 366

View: 2529

A unique contribution to the understanding of social science, showing the implications of quantum physics for the nature of human society.

The Physics of God

Unifying Quantum Physics, Consciousness, M-Theory, Heaven, Neuroscience and Transcendence

Author: Joseph Selbie

Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser

ISBN: 1632658968

Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

Page: 208

View: 5076

Setting aside the pervasive material bias of science and lifting the obscuring fog of religious sectarianism reveals a surprisingly clear unity of science and religion. The explanations of transcendent phenomena given by saints, sages, and near-death experiencers—miracles, immortality, heaven, God, and transcendent awareness—are fully congruent with scientific discoveries in the fields of relativity, quantum physics, medicine, M-theory, neuroscience, and quantum biology. The Physics of God describes the intersections of science and religion with colorful, easy-to-understand metaphors, making abstruse subjects within both science and religion easily accessible to the layman—no math, no dogma. This intriguing book: Pulls back the curtain on the light-show illusion we call matter. Connects string theory’s hidden brane worlds to religion’s transcendent heavens. Reveals the scientific secret of life and immortality: quantum biology’s startling discovery that the human body is continuously entangled. Demonstrates the miracle-making power of our minds to effect instantaneous physiological changes. Explains how the intelligent observer effect confirms our high spiritual potential. Compelling and concise, The Physics of God will make you believe in the unity of science and religion and eager to experience the personal transcendence that is the promise of both.