Quantum Theory: A Philosopher's Overview

SUNY Press
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In straightforward and nontechnical language, a philosopher of science goes to the very heart of what is still the central subject in modern physics, namely, quantum theory, with its astonishing ability to predict—yet not explain. There, he encounters and unravels the maze of bewildering puzzles that, for nearly a century, have locked our most eminent theoreticians in a whirlpool of ongoing controversy. Salvator Cannavo breaks radically with this tradition of searching for a generally acceptable interpretation of quantum theory by urging a complete withdrawal from the fray. In doing so, he first highlights the now established adjunctive role of quantum theory in the elaboration of string theory and other developing branches of explanatory physical theory, and then recommends a new focus for the channeling of creative effort in contemporary theoretical physics.
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About the author

Salvator Cannavo is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He is the author of Think to Win: The Power of Logic in Everyday Life and Nomic Inference: An Introduction to the Logic of Scientific Inquiry.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 26, 2009
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Pages
188
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ISBN
9780791493649
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / General
Science / Physics / Quantum Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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'This is about gob-smacking science at the far end of reason ... Take it nice and easy and savour the experience of your mind being blown without recourse to hallucinogens' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian
For most people, quantum theory is a byword for mysterious, impenetrable science. And yet for many years it was equally baffling for scientists themselves.

In this magisterial book, Manjit Kumar gives a dramatic and superbly-written history of this fundamental scientific revolution, and the divisive debate at its core. Quantum theory looks at the very building blocks of our world, the particles and processes without which it could not exist.

Yet for 60 years most physicists believed that quantum theory denied the very existence of reality itself. In this tour de force of science history, Manjit Kumar shows how the golden age of physics ignited the greatest intellectual debate of the twentieth century.

Quantum theory is weird. In 1905, Albert Einstein suggested that light was a particle, not a wave, defying a century of experiments. Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and Erwin Schrodinger's famous dead-and-alive cat are similarly strange. As Niels Bohr said, if you weren't shocked by quantum theory, you didn't really understand it.

While "Quantum" sets the science in the context of the great upheavals of the modern age, Kumar's centrepiece is the conflict between Einstein and Bohr over the nature of reality and the soul of science. 'Bohr brainwashed a whole generation of physicists into believing that the problem had been solved', lamented the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann. But in "Quantum", Kumar brings Einstein back to the centre of the quantum debate. "Quantum" is the essential read for anyone fascinated by this complex and thrilling story and by the band of brilliant men at its heart.
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