Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press
Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness / Edition 2

Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness / Edition 2

by Bruce Rosenblum, Fred KuttnerBruce Rosenblum
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In trying to understand the atom, physicists built quantum mechanics, the most successful theory in science and the basis of one-third of our economy. They found, to their embarrassment, that with their theory, physics encounters consciousness. Authors Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner explain all this in non-technical terms with help from some fanciful stories and anecdotes about the theory's developers. They present the quantum mystery honestly, emphasizing what is and what is not speculation. Quantum Enigma's description of the experimental quantum facts, and the quantum theory explaining them, is undisputed. Interpreting what it all means, however, is heatedly controversial. But every interpretation of quantum physics involves consciousness. Rosenblum and Kuttner therefore turn to exploring consciousness itself—and encounter quantum mechanics. Free will and anthropic principles become crucial issues, and the connection of consciousness with the cosmos suggested by some leading quantum cosmologists is mind-blowing. Readers are brought to a boundary where the particular expertise of physicists is no longer the only sure guide. They will find, instead, the facts and hints provided by quantum mechanics and the ability to speculate for themselves.

In the few decades since the Bell's theorem experiments established the existence of entanglement (Einstein's "spooky action"), interest in the foundations, and the mysteries, of quantum mechanics has accelerated. In recent years, physicists, philosophers, computer engineers, and even biologists have expanded our realization of the significance of quantum phenomena. This second edition includes such advances. The authors have also drawn on many responses from readers and instructors to improve the clarity of the book's explanations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199753819
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 08/01/2011
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 224,190
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Bruce Rosenblum is currently Professor of Physics, emeritus, at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He has also consulted extensively for government and industry on technical and policy issues. His research has moved from molecular physics to condensed matter physics, and, after a foray into biophysics, has focused on fundamental issues in quantum mechanics.

Fred Kuttner is a Lecturer in the Department of Physics at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He devotes most of his time to teaching physics after a career in industry, including two technology startups, and a second career in academic administration. His research interests have included the low temperature propoerties o solids and the thermal properties of magnets. For the last several years he has worked on the foundations of quantum mechanics and the implications of the quantum theory.

Table of Contents

Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness (2nd edition)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Einstein Called It "Spooky": And I Wish I Had Known
Chapter 2 The Visit to Neg Ahne Poc: A Quantum Parable
Chapter 3 Our Newtonian Worldview: A Universal Law of Motion
Chapter 4 All the Rest of Classical Physics
Hello Quantum Mechanics
Chapter 5 How the Quantum Was Forced on Physics
Chapter 6 Schr dinger's Equation: The New Universal Law of Motion
Chapter 7 The 2-Slit Experiment
Chapter 8 Our Skeleton in the Closet
Chapter 9 One-Third of Our Economy
Chapter 10 Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen
Chapter 11 Schr dinger's Controversial Cat
Chapter 12 Seeking a Real World: EPR
Chapter 13 Spooky Actions: Bell's Theorem
Chapter 14 Experimental Metaphysics
Chapter 15 What's Going On?
Chapter 16 The Mystery of Consciousness
Chapter 17 The Mystery Meets the Enigma
Chapter 18 Consciousness and the Quantum Cosmos

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Quantum Enigma 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this book Rosenblum and Kuttner explain the Quantum Engima as simply as possible. They have done a fantastic job in explaining concepts and theories without crossing ethical barriers. Many theories in Quantum mechanics are confusing and they cause you to think about the theory in more than one way. This can be difficult to explain and to keep simple but in this book they can look at something in several different ways and still get the point across. They also give you a story along with some of the more confusing topics so that you can see possible outcomes and questions that come from the topic. They also explain how quantum mechanics can relate to space and planets. They do a great job of relating everything together and explaining how different things affect other things. For example when they describe probability and wavieness they tell you as simply as possible that the object has a chance to be in several places at once, but once it is observed, then the probability of that object being in a different place instantly goes to zero. Overall this book has helped me understand some difficult theories and concepts. Also taking the approach of looking at something in more than one way helps you see the possible outcomes. This book is great if you love physics and if you are interested in learning about how historical physics has influinced today's physics. It is amazing to see how simply they can relate the two and it is interesting to see some of the quotes from past scientists and from new scientists.
ElynL More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for those of us who feel that quantum mechanics has undoubtably shown that conciousness cannot be denied as an ingredient in science. Many scientists do not want to admit that enigma. These authors do, and do it well.
jamescoz More than 1 year ago
I have read a few books on the subject, but this one was the best. If you are interested in getting a quantum education, buy this book. It is excellent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know any advanced mathematics. I thought I could never grasp these ideas because of that but these authors proved me wrong. This book is filled with easy to understand pictures of how quantum mechanics works. They make clear what is known and unknown about it. They don't get weird. Also I am not an atheist. I don't know about the authors beliefs but I was in no way offended by this book. They pretty much keep religion out of it. However the "enigma" itself is very mysterious and will make you ponder reguardless of your worldview.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book, about some of the most confounding topics currently known, is a pleasure to read. Each sentence is an illustration of exceptional English writing. The authors are experienced and confident enough not to be intimidated by their complex but 'mechanically' workable topic which present human conception seems to have difficulty absorbing. For that alone, it is a national treasure! I stumbled into this work by chance but I rank it among the best books I've read. And to return to 'writing' as a measure of competency, this book stands out as a beacon of clarity and simplicity while maintaining its hold over the reader. Just an excellent example all around. If this book (or its earlier edition) have not won awards, then something is wrong out there.
P_S_Patrick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read a few books about quantum mechanics, and its speculated involvements with consciousness. This book is specifically subtitled "Physics Encounters Consciousness", so I was a bit annoyed to find that the majority of it recaps basic quantum mechanical theory, as if the reader had no previous knowledge of it, leaving out consciousness for the most part. For some people this will be alright, but if you have read other books on it, and have a reasonable level of understanding, then I would find it difficult to recommend this book to you.As for the bit that does involve consciousness, it wasn't really worth reading. I was expecting theories of how consciousness could be explained by quantum principles, not how quantum phenomena are influenced, or objects or reality "created", by consciousness, (which I don't believe). The alternative theories are discussed, briefly, that alleviate the need for objects to be observed for them to exist, such as decoherence, (which is explained very well in Penrose's Shadows of The Mind, I think, and surely by now should have replaced this mystical nonsense about "observation", as if there is something magical about looking at something that causes it to become real), but far too much emphasis was put on this aspect of consciousness' involvement. All in all, it is a good introductory book for someone wanting to learn about the Quantum mysteries and enigmas, and it is certainly well written, and very clear in its explanations of Quantum Theory, just not appropriate in its interpretations. It might give the wrong impressions to the uninitiated, as many of the topics are easily misunderstood. But this doesn't make it a bad book, as there is a lot of worth in it, if you can get past the writers' obsession with inappropriately dragging consiousness into everything.
Princesca on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I understand that there's a potential, but I didn't understand it so far and I've almost finished it :(
neurodrew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Quantum EnigmaBruce Rosenbaum and Fred KuttnerJune 8, 2010Quantum theory is unchallenged as an explanation for observed phenomena, but has at is core the completely fantastic idea that observation of a quantum state causes changes in quantum states so far removed from the experiment that no information can possibly be transmitted between the two states. It leads to the idea that conscious observers are required for the universe to exist. The authors relentlessly confront the oddness of the quantum theory, but reject the more fantastic claims of parapsychology and religion. The chapters on consciousness and quantum theory are brief but provocative. The stories about physicists are entertaining, but the playful dialogues about lands in which quantum phenomena come alive are puerile.The authors taught this material in a course for undergraduates who are not physicists, and admit that there speculations are not welcome among many physicists, who stay with the Copenhagen interpretation of shut up and calculate.
Stbalbach on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Quantum Enigma" opens with a colleague's objection to the book: "Though what you are saying is correct, presenting this information to non-scientists is the intellectual equivalent of allowing children to play with loaded guns."Visualizing the quantum enigma is not difficult, the authors reveal it with stories and diagrams that any careful reader can understand. It is a lot like watching a magic show: the rabbit disappears - it is an enigma. But a disappearing rabbit we all know is a trick with some reasonable explanation that resolves the enigma. In the case of the quantum enigma, it is no trick, but an experimental fact, and the enigma remains unresolved. This creates a metaphysical crises once you really grasp the meaning of it, which is what makes this book so difficult, the implications and what it could mean. The authors call it physics' "skeleton in the closet", or a "loaded gun", because it is so strange in its implications and how it can be interpreted, it transcend physics, which makes many uncomfortable.Beyond the quantum enigma and how scientists came to discover it, the book discusses consciousness studies and suggest, intuitively, that there is a connection between the quantum enigma and consciousness - perhaps understanding one can lead to the other. I found this the most provocative, and also the most difficult part to understand. The last 50-pages took nearly as long to read as the first 150 and I am still not on firm ground - but that may be the point, no one is. The implication that we are creating the universe as we discover it (John Wheeler's eye looking backwards) is great fun and makes paraphenomena and "law of attraction" and "what the bleep" stuff look small-minded when considering the possibility!My only regret is I can not take the University of CA (Santa Cruz) course this book came out of as there are some areas that I just don't understand and could use further help with. It may be asking too much but some authors have web sites with FAQs, or forums, or even interact through Amazon. In any case hope to see and read more about this subject in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was purchased as a gift for our son, who is interested and involved in science, and also the philosophical issues. He was excited to receive it, but haven't heard if he has read it yet, or what his opinion of it is after reading. He definitely had a positive reaction. We were told about it by an acquaintance, who had really liked it, as it balanced his interests in faith, philosophy and science.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy to read, and walks a fine line of declaring findings and not delving into phililsophy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know it is an outline of current theory but how many different ways can you say the same thing and still be interesting?
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