Einstein’s Moon: Bell’s Theorem and the Curious Quest for Quantum Reality

ISBN: 0809239655
ISBN 13: 9780809239658
By: F. David Peat

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Reader's Thoughts


Published in 1990, this book covers the history of the development of quantum theory. Starting with Young's double slit experiment in 1805, continuing to the discovery of energy quanta, Rutherford's discovery of the emptyness of atoms (1907-1911), Bohr's planetary structure of the atom (1913), Heisenberg's development of the equations for quantum theory (and the uncertainty principle) (1925), Born's contribution to matrix mechanics, Schrodinger upending the whole thing with his new wave mechanics (1926), Bohr's objections and development of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics which rejects all classical physics interpretations, and finally the resulting bitter debate between Bohr and Einstein over whether 'God plays dice with the universe.' This consisted of about the first half of the book, which I enjoyed as it reminded me of my more interesting college physics courses but also made me aware of the personalities and debates in the field.The second half of the book starts with the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox (1935), which was an effort by these theorists to refute the Copenhagen interpretation, and also directly inspired Bell's ideas for an experiment to determine whether the Copenhagen interpretation or "local reality" was correct (1964). Bell determined that the "local reality" theory would limit correlation of pairs of particle to greater than -2 and less than +2, whereas the Copenhagen interpretation would allow correlation of greater than 2 under particular circumstances. By the early 1970's the results of experiments conclusively rejected the "local reality" theory, but does not conclusively accept the Copenhagen interpretation. The only way that the "local reality" theory could be possible is if faster-than-light communication is possible which most theorists reject. The second half of the book on Bell's theorem started well, describing the measurement of spin in electrons (and polarization in photons which were used in the actual experiments). However the book failed to provide a clear understanding of how the experiment was performed, skipping Bell's derivation of the 'local reality' equation for correlation, and not even attempting a similar derivation of the quantum mechanical case. Analogies to Bell's Theorem, such as a comparison of viewing a 3D movie with and without glasses weren't very illuminating.2012 #6

James Prentice

Good book but the concepts are a challenge since we are raised in a world of language that is not well suited to quantum reality.I had to contemplate and reread several sections but the understanding is profound. I think it's well worth the brain strain to try to understand the implications of bells theorem.

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