What is space? It isn't a question that most of us normally stop to 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. The phenomenon - the ability of one particle to affect another instantly across the vastness of space - appears to be almost magical. Einstein grappled with this oddity and couldn't quite resolve it, describing it as "spooky action at a distance". But this strange occurrence has direct connections to black holes, particle collisions, and even the workings of gravity. 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 understand it. Musser guides us on an epic journey of scientific discovery into the lives of experimental physicists observing particles acting in tandem, astronomers discovering galaxies that look statistically identical, and cosmologists hoping to unravel the paradoxes surrounding the big bang. Their conclusions challenge our understanding not only of space and time but of the origins of the universe - and their insights are spurring profound technological innovation and suggesting a new grand unified theory of physics.
©2015 George Musser (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
The author rambles quite a bit then, a little tentatively and vaguely, he asks important questions about the universe. He does very little actual explaining in this book, instead he asks scientists these questions and reports the responses. Some responses are understandable and relevant, many others are not. The finest aspect of this book is the good questions it asks:
What exactly is this Spooky Action at a Distance?
How does this work with Quantum Mechanics and Relativity?
How is it different from normal action that can transmit information?
What is local realism and does it really hold?
Is randomness fundamental or an aspect of non-locality?
Are Space and Time fundamental or just interpretations?
Are Continuums fundamental or just interpretations?
Unfortunately there are no answers to these questions in the book and the author seems to revel in the weirdness of modern physics instead of seeking simplicity that might transform the weirdness into the obvious.
I enjoyed this book for the questions, but I was frustrated by the presentation of tricky ideas without context or simplification, the lack of focus or structure, and the anything-goes attitude, where any theory is as good as any other, regardless of how weird it might be.
The narration is quite good keeping a very engaging tone and energy throughout.
Keeps you hooked, and I have ADHD. It's has slow parts of more known history than science if you already listen to similar books. But he keeps it interesting with broad topics. I thought it was a great book that was a surprise after many less interesting. Will listen too over and over I'm sure.
One of the best physics / philosophy of physics books I've read. The author does an excellent job describing an extremely difficult topic.
I reccomend this book by George Musser to anyone with a spark of curiosity for science. I highly suggest Spooky Action at a Distance for the purpose of rereading as I have done multiple times, so it does have that much interesting depth of perception which pertains to physics world. I highly favor this good book.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
“Spooky Action at a Distance” (also called entanglement) collapses the theory of space just as Einstein’s theory of relativity collapsed time. George Musser argues that experimental evidence suggests neither space nor time have form or matter in an Aristotelian sense. Aristotle explains the nature of things by suggesting an object perceived by the senses has form and matter. By Aristotle’s definition, both space and time are perceived by the senses; in other words, they have form and matter. Einstein’s theory shows that time is relative which denies precise form or matter. Time changes based on an observer’s relative location, and the speed of observer and observed.
Musser notes that with the advent of quantum theory, the same holds true for space because of the experimental proof of “Spooky Action at a Distance”. John Stewart Bell and David Bohm note how elemental particles, separated by wide distances, can be manipulated to mimic or oppose each other’s spin. It is as though there is no space between two widely separated particles, one of which is acted on, while the other reacts simultaneously. The reaction is faster than the speed of light. The ramification of this “Spooky Action at a Distance” is that space has no inherent meaning. Both space and time are a fiction created by the senses.
One of many things that are interesting in Musser’s book is that Einstein may have been ahead of Niels Bohr in appreciating Quantum Theory even though the idea set Einstein on edge. There is hope for an undiscovered truth that will bring the nature of things into a theory of everything that is more predictable than the probabilities of quantum mechanics. This may still be a “cause and effect” universe. Maybe Smollin is right and too much research and investment is committed to string theory at the expense of other “theory of everything” ideas.
Just finished reading; "Spooky Action at a Distance" by George Musser, my favorite science book for 2015. It talks about the crazy problems at the edges, where science breaks down, and what the big boys and girls are working on to try and patch things together. Scary stuff actually, makes any eastern mysticism seem tame.
A Universe cast in Cantor's Dust.
The best book I have read since, Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality by Max Tegmark.
Although the non-physics branches of the science community are slow to wake up and smell the nonlocality, Spooky Action At A Distance might just be the brew to help them wake up from their dreams of Materialistic Determinism, pull back the blankets of Quantum denial, and welcome this bright new (nearly a century-old) day!
When I bought this book I was not sure if it was a crank book. It seemed legit. But I've seen too many crackpot theories and online debates that use unproven physics. I wasn't interested in that.
This book did not let me down. It goes right to the fringes of science (what we know). It takes a hard look at the debate within in physics. It builds the case for non-locality and hologram theories, including quantum loop gravity. But the last chapter makes it clear that these issues are not solved.
The obligatory history of science section was refreshing! We saw familiar characters. But the book showed different parts of their work and conflict with other scientists. Not the same old well known stories. I really learned more about the history of science. At least, as it related to the locality debate. But it filled in a lot of detail around the same people we have heard of before.
Musser worked hard to describe different models of the universe, and did it well. Despite the fact that some ideas are so big it's hard to grasp them. But he repeated the important details. He discussed quantum field theory, but only barely touching on it. He didn't seem to think it was important for the reader to understand it. But I am glad I previously listened to "The Particle and the End of the Universe" which discusses QFT.
This book shows how messy science is. Most people think science is well organized lists, charts and facts. But that's not science. That's established outcomes of science. Real science is about what we haven't established things. When we don't fully understand what is happening. This book looks at the changes that may be coming out of physics over the next few decades.
Report Inappropriate Content