Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and Reality, A Western Perspective by Shimon Malin

Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and Reality, A Western Perspective

byShimon Malin

Hardcover | March 15, 2001

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The strangeness of modern physics has sparked several popular books--such as The Tao of Physics--that explore its affinity with Eastern mysticism. But the founders of quantum mechanics were educated in the classical traditions of Western civilization and Western philosophy. In Nature Loves toHide, physicist Shimon Malin takes readers on a fascinating tour of quantum theory--one that turns to Western philosophical thought to clarify this strange yet inescapable explanation of reality. Malin translates quantum mechanics into plain English, explaining its origins and workings against the backdrop of the famous debate between Niels Bohr and the skeptical Albert Einstein. Then he moves on to build a philosophical framework that can account for the quantum nature of reality. Heshows, for instance, how Platonic and Neoplatonic thought resonates with quantum theory. He draws out the linkage between the concepts of Neoplatonism and the more recent process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. The universe, Whitehead wrote, is an organic whole, composed not of lifelessobjects, but "elementary experiences." Beginning with Whitehead's insight, Malin shows how this concept of "throbs of experience" expresses quantum reality, with its subatomic uncertainties, its constituents that are waves and also particles, its emphasis on acts of measurement. Once any educated person could explain the universe as a vast Newtonian web of cause and effect, but since quantum theory, reality again appears to be richer and more mysterious than we had thought. Writing with broad humanistic insight and deep knowledge of science, and using delightfulconversations with fictional astronauts Peter and Julie to explain more difficult concepts, Shimon Malin offers a profound new understanding of the nature of reality--one that shows a deep continuity with aspects of our Western philosophical tradition going back 2500 years, and that feels moredeeply satisfying, and truer, than the clockwork universe of Newton.

About The Author

Shimon Malin is a Professor of Physics at Colgate University. A leading authority on quantum mechanics, General Relativity and cosmology, and philosophy, he is the author or co-author of three books and some fifty scientific papers. He lives in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Details & Specs

Title:Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and Reality, A Western PerspectiveFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 6.1 × 9.1 × 1.3 inPublished:March 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195138945

ISBN - 13:9780195138948

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"In recent years, there have been many books for the lay reader on quantum mechanics and its philosophical and metaphysical implications, but this is an exceptionally good one.... Takes the reader step by step through the famous and difficult paradoxes of modern physics with remarkable clarityof thought and expression.... One of the delights of this book is an extensive encounter with the profound philosophical ponderings, struggles, and debates of [Plato, Plotinus, Whitehead, and the founding fathers of quantum mechanics].... The author treats his reader with impeccablerespect."--Christian Wertenbaker, Parabola