Show Book List

Reviews elsewhere on the web:
I. M. Oderberg
Dogsticks

Robert Nadeau and Menas Kafatos

The non-local Universe

Many people have sought a mystical side to the new discoveries in physics, in particular in quantum theory. I think of these attempts as a mostly harmless amusement, but I have to say that I felt that The non-local universe possibly wasn't so harmless. Maybe the later parts of the book aren't so bad. The authors speculate about the evolution of the mind - a bit of a just-so story perhaps, but interesting and readable. The last part of the book gets on to the postmodern take on science. The authors clearly think that there's something wrong with this, but don't want to insult the postmodernists - I thought it was rather funny really.

It's the first part of the book, on quantum theory and non-locality which I found worrying. One of the authors is a professional physicist, and the book seems to be describing accepted physics, but I found it rather muddled in several places. For example the following sentences on Bohm's theory (p76): 'One problem with these so called local realistic classical theories is that they cannot be verified in experiments. Another is that they predict a totally different result for the correlations between the two photons in experiments testing Bell's theorem'. Well firstly Bohm's theory isn't local. Secondly we're talking quantum rather than classical. And thirdly the second sentence contradicts the first.

Also the book doesn't really have much about the relationship of the mind to the new physics, so I'd advise you to give it a miss.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 0195132564
Salesrank: 1401198
Weight:1.15 lbs
Published: 1999 Oxford University Press
Amazon price $7.95
Marketplace:New from $7.95:Used from $2.08
Buy from Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 0195132564
Salesrank: 2086201
Weight:1.15 lbs
Published: 1999 Oxford University Press Inc
Marketplace:New from £22.53:Used from £1.74
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 0195132564
Salesrank: 1255535
Weight:1.15 lbs
Published: 1999 Oxford University Press
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 34.04:Used from CDN$ 2.46
Buy from Amazon.ca





Product Description
Classical physics states that physical reality is local--a point in space cannot influence another point beyond a relatively short distance. However, In 1997, experiments were conducted in which light particles (photons) originated under certain conditions and traveled in opposite directions to detectors located about seven miles apart. The amazing results indicated that the photons "interacted" or "communicated" with one another instantly or "in no time." Since a distance of seven miles is quite vast in quantum physics, this led physicists to an extraordinary conclusion--even if experiments could somehow be conducted in which the distance between the detectors was half-way across the known universe, the results would indicate that interaction or communication between the photons would be instantaneous. What was revealed in these little-known experiments in 1997 is that physical reality is non-local--a discovery that Robert Nadeau and Menas Kafatos view as "the most momentous in the history of science."
In The Non-Local Universe, Nadeau and Kafatos offer a revolutionary look at the breathtaking implications of non-locality. They argue that since every particle in the universe has been "entangled" with other particles like the two photons in the 1997 experiments, physical reality on the most basic level is an undivided wholeness. In addition to demonstrating that physical processes are vastly interdependent and interactive, they also show that more complex systems in both physics and biology display emergent properties and/or behaviors that cannot be explained in the terms of the sum of parts. One of the most startling implications of non-locality in human terms, claim the authors, is that there is no longer any basis for believing in the stark division between mind and world that has preoccupied much of western thought since the seventeenth century. And they also make a convincing case that human consciousness can now be viewed as emergent from and seamlessly connected with the entire cosmos.
In pursuing this groundbreaking argument, the authors not only provide a fascinating history of developments that led to the discovery of non-locality and the sometimes heated debate between the great scientists responsible for these discoveries. They also argue that advances in scientific knowledge have further eroded the boundaries between physics and biology, and that recent studies on the evolution of the human brain suggest that the logical foundations of mathematics and ordinary language are much more similar than we previously imagined. What this new knowledge reveals, the authors conclude, is that the connection between mind and nature is far more intimate than we previously dared to imagine. What they offer is a revolutionary look at the implications of non-locality, implications that reach deep into that most intimate aspect of humanity--consciousness.