Spooky Action at a Distance

The Phenomenon That Reimagines Space and Time--and What It Means for Black Holes, the Big Bang, and Theories of Everything

Author: George Musser

Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374713553

Category: Science

Page: 304

View: 3886

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Long-listed for the 2016 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award “An important book that provides insight into key new developments in our understanding of the nature of space, time and the universe. It will repay careful study.” —John Gribbin, The Wall Street Journal “An endlessly surprising foray into the current mother of physics' many knotty mysteries, the solving of which may unveil the weirdness of quantum particles, black holes, and the essential unity of nature.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) What is space? It isn't a question that most of us normally ask. Space is the venue of physics; it's where things exist, where they move and take shape. Yet over the past few decades, physicists have discovered a phenomenon that operates outside the confines of space and time: nonlocality-the ability of two particles to act in harmony no matter how far apart they may be. It appears to be almost magical. Einstein grappled with this oddity and couldn't come to terms with it, describing it as "spooky action at a distance." More recently, the mystery has deepened as other forms of nonlocality have been uncovered. This strange occurrence, which has direct connections to black holes, particle collisions, and even the workings of gravity, holds the potential to undermine our most basic understandings of physical reality. If space isn't what we thought it was, then what is it? In Spooky Action at a Distance, George Musser sets out to answer that question, offering a provocative exploration of nonlocality and a celebration of the scientists who are trying to explain it. Musser guides us on an epic journey into the lives of experimental physicists observing particles acting in tandem, astronomers finding galaxies that look statistically identical, and cosmologists hoping to unravel the paradoxes surrounding the big bang. He traces the often contentious debates over nonlocality through major discoveries and disruptions of the twentieth century and shows how scientists faced with the same undisputed experimental evidence develop wildly different explanations for that evidence. Their conclusions challenge our understanding of not only space and time but also the origins of the universe-and they suggest a new grand unified theory of physics. Delightfully readable, Spooky Action at a Distance is a mind-bending voyage to the frontiers of modern physics that will change the way we think about reality.
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The Zoomable Universe

An Epic Tour Through Cosmic Scale, from Almost Everything to Nearly Nothing

Author: Caleb Scharf

Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374279748

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 547

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An epic, full-color visual journey through all scales of the universe In The Zoomable Universe, the award-winning astrobiologist Caleb Scharf and the acclaimed artist Ron Miller take us on an epic tour through all known scales of reality, from the largest possible magnitude to the smallest. Drawing on cutting-edge science, they begin at the limits of the observable universe, a scale spanning 10^27 meters—about 93 billion light-years. And they end in the subatomic realm, at 10^-35 meters, where the fabric of space-time itself confounds all known rules of physics. In between are galaxies, stars and planets, oceans and continents, plants and animals, microorganisms, atoms, and much, much more. Stops along the way—all enlivened by Scharf’s sparkling prose and his original insights into the nature of our universe—include the brilliant core of the Milky Way, the surface of a rogue planet, the back of an elephant, and a sea of jostling quarks. The Zoomable Universe is packed with more than 100 original illustrations and infographics that will captivate readers of every age. It is a whimsical celebration of discovery, a testament to our astounding ability to see beyond our own vantage point and chart a course from the farthest reaches of the cosmos to its subatomic depths—in short, a must-have for the shelves of all explorers.
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When Einstein Walked with Gödel

Excursions to the Edge of Thought

Author: Jim Holt

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374717842

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 9785

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From Jim Holt, the New York Times bestselling author of Why Does the World Exist?, comes an entertaining and accessible guide to the most profound scientific and mathematical ideas of recent centuries in When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought. Does time exist? What is infinity? Why do mirrors reverse left and right but not up and down? In this scintillating collection, Holt explores the human mind, the cosmos, and the thinkers who’ve tried to encompass the latter with the former. With his trademark clarity and humor, Holt probes the mysteries of quantum mechanics, the quest for the foundations of mathematics, and the nature of logic and truth. Along the way, he offers intimate biographical sketches of celebrated and neglected thinkers, from the physicist Emmy Noether to the computing pioneer Alan Turing and the discoverer of fractals, Benoit Mandelbrot. Holt offers a painless and playful introduction to many of our most beautiful but least understood ideas, from Einsteinian relativity to string theory, and also invites us to consider why the greatest logician of the twentieth century believed the U.S. Constitution contained a terrible contradiction—and whether the universe truly has a future.
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