Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness

Hardcover | June 29, 2006

byBruce Rosenblum, Fred Kuttner

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The most successful theory in all of science--and the basis of one third of our economy--says the strangest things about the world and about us. Can you believe that physical reality is created by our observation of it? Physicists were forced to this conclusion, the quantum enigma, by whatthey observed in their laboratories. Trying to understand the atom, physicists built quantum mechanics and found, to their embarrassment, that their theory intimately connects consciousness with the physical world. Quantum Enigma explores what that implies and why some founders of the theory became the foremost objectors to it.Schrodinger showed that it "absurdly" allowed a cat to be in a "superposition" simultaneously dead and alive. Einstein derided the theory's "spooky interactions." With Bell's Theorem, we now know Schrodinger's superpositions and Einstein's spooky interactions indeed exist. Authors Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner explain all of this in non-technical terms with help from some fanciful stories and bits about the theory's developers. They present the quantum mystery honestly, with an emphasis on what is and what is not speculation. Physics' encounter with consciousness is its skeleton in the closet. Because the authors open the closet and examine the skeleton, theirs is a controversial book. Quantum Enigma's description of the experimental quantum facts, and the quantum theory explaining them, is undisputed. Interpreting whatit all means, however, is controversial. Every interpretation of quantum physics encounters consciousness. Rosenblum and Kuttner therefore turn to exploring consciousness itself--and encounter quantum physics. Free will and anthropic principles become crucial issues, and the connection of consciousness with the cosmos suggested by someleading quantum cosmologists is mind-blowing. Readers are brought to a boundary where the particular expertise of physicists is no longer a sure guide. They will find, instead, the facts and hints provided by quantum mechanics and the ability to speculate for themselves.

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The most successful theory in all of science--and the basis of one third of our economy--says the strangest things about the world and about us. Can you believe that physical reality is created by our observation of it? Physicists were forced to this conclusion, the quantum enigma, by whatthey observed in their laboratories. Trying to...

Bruce Rosenblum is Professor of Physics and former Chairperson of the Physics Department at the University of California, 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...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 6.3 × 9.29 × 0.98 inPublished:June 29, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019517559X

ISBN - 13:9780195175592

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Table of Contents

1. Presenting the Enigma2. Einstein Called it "Spooky"--and I Wish I Had Known3. The Visit to Neg Ahne Poc: A Quantum Parable4. Our Newtonian Worldview: A Universal Law of Motion5. All the Rest of Classical PhysicsHello Quantum Mechanics6. How the Quantum Was Forced on Physics7. Schrodinger's Equation: The New Universal Law of Motion8. One-Third of Our Economy9. Our Skeleton in the Closet10. Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen11. Schrodinger's Controversial Cat12. Seeking a Real World: EPR13. Spooky Interactions: Bell's Theorem14. What's Going On?: Interpreting the Quantum Enigma15. The Mystery of Consciousness16. The Mystery Meets the Enigma17. Consciousness and the Quantum CosmosSuggested ReadingsIndex

Editorial Reviews

"The boundary of existence that modern physics finds itself butting against is consciousness. The cautious, sober approach of Quantum Enigma makes its astonishing conclusions all the more credible. This is an immensely important and exciting book."--Raymond Chester Russ, Editor, Journal ofMind and Behavior