The text is accessible to students with at least one semester of prior exposure to quantum (or "modern") physics and includes over a hundred engaging end-of-chapter "Projects" that make the book suitable for either a traditional classroom or for self-study.
Travis Norsen graduated as a physics-philosophy double-major from Harvey Mudd College in 1997 and then earned his PhD in theoretical nuclear astrophysics from the University of Washington in 2002. Since then he has worked on the foundational issues surveyed in the book and brought his uniquely conceptual, historical, and philosophical approach to physics into the classrooms of Marlboro, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges.
Philosophy of quantum physics is aimed at philosophers with an interest in physics, while also serving to familiarize physicists with many of the essential philosophical questions of their subject.
The issue of determinism. Does quantum mechanics signify the end of a deterministic word-view?
The role of the human subject or of the "observer" in science. Since Copernicus, science has increasingly tended to dethrone Man from his formerly held special position in the Universe. But quantum mechanics, with its emphasis on the notion of observation, may once more have given a central role to the human subject.
The issue of locality. Does quantum mechanics imply that instantaneous actions at a distance exist in Nature?
In these pages the author offers a variety of views and answers - bad as well as good - to these questions. The reader will be both entertained and enlightened by Jean Bricmont's clear and incisive arguments.
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.