The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the…

Paperback | January 2, 2013

byPeter Byrne

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Peter Byrne tells the story of Hugh Everett III (1930-1982), whose "many worlds" theory of multiple universes has had a profound impact on physics and philosophy. Using Everett's unpublished papers (recently discovered in his son's basement) and dozens of interviews with his friends,colleagues, and surviving family members, Byrne paints, for the general reader, a detailed portrait of the genius who invented an astonishing way of describing our complex universe from the inside. Everett's mathematical model (called the "universal wave function") treats all possible events as "equally real", and concludes that countless copies of every person and thing exist in all possible configurations spread over an infinity of universes: many worlds. Afflicted by depression andaddictions, Everett strove to bring rational order to the professional realms in which he played historically significant roles. In addition to his famous interpretation of quantum mechanics, Everett wrote a classic paper in game theory; created computer algorithms that revolutionized militaryoperations research; and performed pioneering work in artificial intelligence for top secret government projects. He wrote the original software for targeting cities in a nuclear hot war; and he was one of the first scientists to recognize the danger of nuclear winter. As a Cold Warrior, he designedlogical systems that modeled "rational" human and machine behaviors, and yet he was largely oblivious to the emotional damage his irrational personal behavior inflicted upon his family, lovers, and business partners. He died young, but left behind a fascinating record of his life, including correspondence with such philosophically inclined physicists as Niels Bohr, Norbert Wiener, and John Wheeler. These remarkable letters illuminate the long and often bitter struggle to explain the paradox of measurement at theheart of quantum physics. In recent years, Everett's solution to this mysterious problem - the existence of a universe of universes - has gained considerable traction in scientific circles, not as science fiction, but as an explanation of physical reality.

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Peter Byrne tells the story of Hugh Everett III (1930-1982), whose "many worlds" theory of multiple universes has had a profound impact on physics and philosophy. Using Everett's unpublished papers (recently discovered in his son's basement) and dozens of interviews with his friends,colleagues, and surviving family members, Byrne paint...

Peter Byrne is an investigative reporter and science writer based in northern California. He has written for Scientific American, Mother Jones, Salon.com, SF Weekly, North Bay Bohemian, and many other magazines and newsweeklies. He has received national recognition for his investigative reporting, including from Investigative Editors ...

other books by Peter Byrne

The Everett Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Collected Works 1955-1980 with Commentary
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Kobo ebook|May 20 2012

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:January 2, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199659249

ISBN - 13:9780199659241

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Table of Contents

Book 1: BeginningsIntroduction: The Story of Q1. Family Origins: a Sketch2. Katharine: the Dark Star3. The Scientist as a Young Man4. Stranger in ParadiseBook 2: Game World5. Demigods6. Decisions, Decisions-the Theory of Games7. Origin of MAD8. von Neumann's LegacyBook 3: Quantum World9. Quantum Everett10. More on the Measurement Problem11. Collapse and Complementarity12. The Philosophy of Quantum MechanicsBook 4: Everett and Wheeler13. Wheeler: the Radical Conservative14. Genesis of Many Worlds15. Alone in the Room16. Tour of Many Worlds17. The Battle with Copenhagen, Part I18. The Battle with Copenhagen, Part II19. The Chapel Hill AffairBook 5: Possible World Futures20. Preparing for World War III21. From Wargasm to Looking Glass22. FalloutBook 6: Crossroads23. A Bell Jar World24. A Vacation in CopenhagenBook 7: Assured Destruction25. Everett and Report 5026. Everett and the SIOPBook 8: Transitions27. Behind Closed Doors28. Death's Other KingdomsBook 9: Beltway Bandit29. Weaponeering30. The Bayesian Machine31. The Death of LambdaBook 10: Many Worlds Reborn32. DeWitt to the Rescue33. Records in Time34. Austin35. Wheeler RecantsBook 11: American Tragedy36. The Final Years37. AftermathBook 12: Everett's Legacy38. Modern Everett39. Everett Goes to OxfordEpilogue: Beyond Many Worlds

Editorial Reviews

"The effort Byrne has put in to understanding the man is impressive ..." --Robert Matthews, BBC Focus Magazine