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P C W Davies

Ghost in the Atom

Quantum theory can seem rather puzzling. Schrödinger's cat is confusing enough, but that's relatively simple to understand compared with questions of entanglement and non-locality. This book is based on a series of eight radio programs where Paul Davies interviewed recognised experts in the subject. Thus it provides an opportunity for the reader to get a flavour of this subject without getting bogged down in philosophical handwaving. The book starts with an excellent introduction to the the subject by Davies and so is suitable for the non-specialist reader, but would also be useful for those with more knowledge of the subject who want an overview of the different positions held by different scientists.

The book was written in 1986, so it doesn't go into some of the recent ideas for quantum technologies. However, it doesn't seem particularly dated - there is a discussion with Alain Aspect about experiments to detect entanglement, and David Deutsch talks about ideas related to quantum computing.. And it does have the advantage of contributions from scientists who are no longer with us, such as John Bell and David Bohm.

I did feel at times that Davies was pushing his own point of view a little too much in the interviews. Alternatively, he may have been trying to get the interviewees to speculate a little, so perhaps it isn't such a bad thing.

Product Description
Anybody who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it. Niels Bohr's dictum bears witness to the bewildering impact of quantum theory, flying in the face of classical physics and dramatically transforming scientists' outlook on our relationship with the material world. In this book Paul Davies interviews eight physicists involved in debating and testing the theory, with radically different views of its significance.