Einstein's steadfast refusal to accept certain aspects of quantum theory was rooted in his insistence that physics has to be about reality. Accordingly, he once derided as spooky action at a distance the notion that two elementary particles far removed from each other could nonetheless influence each others properties - a hypothetical phenomenon his fellow theorist Erwin Schrodinger termed quantum entanglement.
In a series of ingenious experiments conducted in various locations - from a dank sewage tunnel under the Danube River to the balmy air between a pair of mountain peaks in the Canary Islands - the author and his colleagues have demonstrated the reality of such entanglement using photons, or light quanta, created by laser beams. In principle, the lessons learned may be applicable in other areas, including the eventual development of quantum computers.
©2010 Anton Zeilinger (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
The part of the Dance of the Photons I liked best is the correct presentation of ???quantum teleportation??? experiments. The book points out that not all the features of the particle are teleported and the teleportation always requires a classical communications channel, and this is not at all a ???beam me up Scotty??? experience. The reality of these experiments is not at all what people assume when they hear scientists have ???teleported??? something. The book tries to explain an exceptionally weird reality in a way a layman might understand. This works for a while, but as things get stranger, the explanations get weaker, and when ???the really exciting point of the whole story??? is reached the explanation is the least clear. Thus the book fails in the essential goal of being really understandable to laymen (which may be an unattainable goal). Even an author as capable as Zellinger can still make mistakes, as in the opening discussion of entanglement the book implies that when a speed measurement is made on the local entangled particle A, at that very moment, but not before, the distant particle B takes on a corresponding speed. Yet in general there is actually no way to tell if the measurement of A, or the measurement of B, happened first. This is an all too common misunderstanding, and surely Zellinger knows better, but such statements lead to deep misunderstandings in laymen (and physicists) about what is really going on. In QM one cannot make a statement about the speed of B until the speed of B is measured. When the speed of B is measured, it will always correspond with the speed measured of A, but that does not mean B had that speed before B was measured. Without understanding this, nothing can be understood about QM and entanglement. I was hoping to find a book I could recommend to laymen to understand the key issues of Bell???s theorem. The author is brilliant and tries really hard to reach this goal, but unfortunately this book falls far short of what I had hoped. Nevertheless, for those who want to understand entanglement this book is no worse than any, and better than most. BTW, if you read this book and believe you now finally understand entanglement, you are very likely deluding yourself! Keep reading and you will be confused again!
Letting the rest of the world go by
Delves into the science of entanglement and the most important theorem you've probably never heard of, Bells Theorem. Spooky action at a distance is real and does exist. He tells a good story and explains the science wonderfully. Slightly prefer this over "How the Hippies Saved Physics" only because this book talks more about the science and the other book has more about the personalities. I recommend both, but if you prefer the science over personality choose this book.
Some intriguing ideas, but the somewhat introductory information needed to understand the theory and its history is presented in a narrative format which drags on for four hours. The narrative format detracts from the actual content and I often felt annoyed, wishing I could tell the author to forget about Alice twirling her hair and just get to the point. After five and a half hours, when different experiments and possible applications of the theory were finally discussed the book did get more interesting.
The title was by far the best part of the book! The author took over five hours to get to the main focus of the text. By that time I could barely stand to listen to any more. I did, however, attempt to listen to and digest the remaining 3 plus hours but I simply did not possess the fortitude. I tried to take in the book by listening in one hour increments with the hope that the next hour would be more palatable than the last. I was repeatedly wrong. Moreover, the reader made the text that much more hard to take. The audio presentation reminded me of a bad audio recording that can be found in one those old 1970’s educational films. My advice, don’t be sucked in by a cool-sounding title and pass on the Dance of the Photon!
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