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Vlatko Vedral

Decoding reality

In 1994 Vlatko Vedral came across the phrase 'Information is Physical', and it had a lasting effect on his life. In Decoding reality: the universe as quantum information he puts forward his thoughts on how information and especially ideas from thermodynamics, underlies all areas of science.

The book starts with a description of a card game, with the players representing different sciences. We get to see the cards as each player plays them, and have to work out the rules of the game. As the book progresses, Vedral shows how ideas of information can be applied to the various sciences.

The trouble is that there are too many errors in the book. Vedral seems to think that global warming is simply due to releasing energy rather than the greenhouse effect of CO2. His thermodynamics of a Mars bar is the wrong way round. It became difficult for me take note of what he was arguing for as I looked out for the next 'howler'. Even when he knows his stuff, I don't think he explained it particularly well - he has no diagrams, which makes it difficult to see what is going on with the Mach-Zehnder interferometer, for instance. I get the feeling this book was written without putting that much effort into getting it right, and I would not recommend reading it.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 229 pages  
ISBN: 0199237697
Salesrank: 245985
Weight:0.79 lbs
Published: 2010 Oxford University Press
Marketplace:New from $8.49:Used from $1.95
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 240 pages  
ISBN: 0199237697
Salesrank: 577897
Weight:0.79 lbs
Published: 2010 OUP Oxford
Marketplace:New from £29.48:Used from £1.00
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 0199237697
Salesrank: 502456
Weight:0.79 lbs
Published: 2010 Oxford University Press
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 9.31:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description
In Decoding Reality, Vlatko Vedral offers a mind-stretching look at the deepest questions about the universe--where everything comes from, why things are as they are, what everything is.

The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, he writes, but information--and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena. This view allows Vedral to address a host of seemingly unrelated questions: Why does DNA bind like it does? What is the ideal diet for longevity? How do you make your first million dollars? We can unify all through the understanding that everything consists of bits of information, he writes, though that raises the question of where these bits come from. To find the answer, he takes us on a guided tour through the bizarre realm of quantum physics. At this sub-sub-subatomic level, we find such things as the interaction of separated quantum particles--what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance." In fact, Vedral notes, recent evidence suggests that quantum weirdness, once thought to be limited to the tiniest scale, may actually reach into the macro world and make teleportation a real possibility. It is in quantum physics, he writes, that we really can find the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

Vlatko Vedral is one of the key researchers in quantum science. In this book, he offers a mind-bending account of this leading-edge field.