Previously the domain of philosophers and linguists, information theory has now moved beyond the province of code breakers to become the crucial science of our time. In Decoding the Universe, Charles Seife draws on his gift for making cutting-edge science accessible to explain how this new tool is deciphering everything from the purpose of our DNA to the parallel universes of our Byzantine cosmos. The result is an exhilarating adventure that deftly combines cryptology, physics, biology, and mathematics to cast light on the new understanding of the laws that govern life and the universe.
The authors outline how their positions have further diverged on a number of key issues, including the spatial geometry of the universe, inflationary versus cyclic theories of the cosmos, and the black-hole information-loss paradox. Though much progress has been made, Hawking and Penrose stress that physicists still have further to go in their quest for a quantum theory of gravity.
Your plain-English guide to understanding and working with the micro world
Quantum physics — also called quantum mechanics or quantum field theory — can be daunting for even the most dedicated student or enthusiast of science, math, or physics. This friendly, concise guide makes this challenging subject understandable and accessible, from atoms to particles to gases and beyond. Plus, it's packed with fully explained examples to help you tackle the tricky equations like a pro!Compatible with any classroom course — study at your own pace and prepare for graduate or professional exams Your journey begins here — understand what quantum physics is and what kinds of problems it can solve Know the basic math — from state vectors to quantum matrix manipulations, get the foundation you need to proceed Put quantum physics to work — make sense of Schrödinger's equation and handle particles bound in square wells and harmonic oscillators Solve problems in three dimensions — use the full operators to handle wave functions and eigenvectors to find the natural wave functions of a system Discover the latest research — learn the cutting-edge quantum physics theories that aim to explain the universe itself
- Quantum vs. classical physics
- A look at the smallest known particles
- How the tiniest particles behave both as particles and waves
- The famous double-slit experiment
- Quantum wave function
- The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
- How particles can be in multiple places at once
- Quantum entanglement
- The Schrodinger's cat thought experiment
- Competing interpretations of quantum physics
- The Copenhagen interpretation and need for an observer
- The role of consciousness in quantum theory
- The Many Worlds interpretation and parallel universes
- Building a quantum computer
- Quantum gravity and the search for a theory of everything
“An endlessly surprising foray into the current mother of physics' many knotty mysteries, the solving of which may unveil the weirdness of quantum particles, black holes, and the essential unity of nature.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
What is space? It isn't a question that most of us normally ask. Space is the venue of physics; it's where things exist, where they move and take shape. Yet over the past few decades, physicists have discovered a phenomenon that operates outside the confines of space and time: nonlocality-the ability of two particles to act in harmony no matter how far apart they may be. It appears to be almost magical. Einstein grappled with this oddity and couldn't come to terms with it, describing it as "spooky action at a distance." More recently, the mystery has deepened as other forms of nonlocality have been uncovered. This strange occurrence, which has direct connections to black holes, particle collisions, and even the workings of gravity, holds the potential to undermine our most basic understandings of physical reality. If space isn't what we thought it was, then what is it?
In Spooky Action at a Distance, George Musser sets out to answer that question, offering a provocative exploration of nonlocality and a celebration of the scientists who are trying to explain it. Musser guides us on an epic journey into the lives of experimental physicists observing particles acting in tandem, astronomers finding galaxies that look statistically identical, and cosmologists hoping to unravel the paradoxes surrounding the big bang. He traces the often contentious debates over nonlocality through major discoveries and disruptions of the twentieth century and shows how scientists faced with the same undisputed experimental evidence develop wildly different explanations for that evidence. Their conclusions challenge our understanding of not only space and time but also the origins of the universe-and they suggest a new grand unified theory of physics. Delightfully readable, Spooky Action at a Distance is a mind-bending voyage to the frontiers of modern physics that will change the way we think about reality.
Steve Gubser begins by explaining Einstein's famous equation E = mc2, quantum mechanics, and black holes. He then gives readers a crash course in string theory and the core ideas behind it. In plain English and with a minimum of mathematics, Gubser covers strings, branes, string dualities, extra dimensions, curved spacetime, quantum fluctuations, symmetry, and supersymmetry. He describes efforts to link string theory to experimental physics and uses analogies that nonscientists can understand. How does Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu relate to quantum mechanics? What would it be like to fall into a black hole? Why is dancing a waltz similar to contemplating a string duality? Find out in the pages of this book.
The Little Book of String Theory is the essential, most up-to-date beginner's guide to this elegant, multidimensional field of physics.
String theory is the hottest topic in physics right now, with books on the subject (pro and con) flying out of the stores. String Theory For Dummies offers an accessible introduction to this highly mathematical "theory of everything," which posits ten or more dimensions in an attempt to explain the basic nature of matter and energy. Written for both students and people interested in science, this guide explains concepts, discusses the string theory's hypotheses and predictions, and presents the math in an approachable manner. It features in-depth examples and an easy-to-understand style so that readers can understand this controversial, cutting-edge theory.
Drawing from research and concepts from computer science, artificial intelligence, video games, quantum physics, and referencing both speculative fiction and ancient eastern spiritual texts, Virk shows how all of these traditions come together to point to the idea that we may be inside a simulated reality like the Matrix.
The Simulation Hypothesis is the idea that our physical reality, far from being a solid physical universe, is part of an increasingly sophisticated video game-like simulation, where we all have multiple lives, consisting of pixels with its own internal clock run by some giant Artificial Intelligence. Simulation theory explains some of the biggest mysteries of quantum and relativistic physics, such as quantum indeterminacy, parallel universes, and the integral nature of the speed of light.
Recently, the idea that we may be living in a giant video game has received a lot of attention:
“There’s a one in a billion chance we are not living in a simulation” -Elon Musk
“I find it hard to argue we are not in a simulation.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson
“We are living in computer generated reality.” -Philip K. Dick
Video game technology has developed from basic arcade and text adventures to MMORPGs. Video game designer Riz Virk shows how these games may continue to evolve in the future, including virtual reality, augmented reality, Artificial Intelligence, and quantum computing. This book shows how this evolution could lead us to the point of being able to develop all encompassing virtual worlds like the Oasis in Ready Player One, or the simulated reality in the Matrix.
While the idea sounds like science fiction, many scientists, engineers, and professors have given the Simulation Hypothesis serious consideration. Futurist Ray Kurzweil has popularized the idea of downloading our consciousness into a silicon based device, which would mean we are just digital information after all. Some, like Oxford lecturer Nick Bostrom, goes further and thinks we may in fact be artificially intelligent consciousness inside such a simulation already!
But the Simulation Hypothesis is not just a modern idea. Philosophers like Plato have been telling us that we live in a “cave” and can only see shadows of the real world. Mystics of all traditions have long contended that we are living in some kind of “illusion “and that there are other realities which we can access with our minds. While even Judeo-Christian traditions have this idea, Eastern traditions like Buddhism and Hinduism make this idea part of their core tradition — that we are inside a dream world (“Maya” or illusion, or Vishnu’s Dream), and we have “multiple lives” playing different characters when one dies, continuing to gain experience and “level up” after completing certain challenges. Sounds a lot like a video game!
Whether you are a computer scientist, a fan of science fiction like the Matrix movies, a video game enthusiast, or a spiritual seeker, The Simulation Hypothesis touches on all these areas, and you will never look at the world the same way again!