Six Impossible Things by John Gribbin

3 out of 5 stars

If you want the strange then you need not venture between the covers of a science fiction book, there is a world that is equally unreal, where particles can be in two places at the same time, they are sometimes a wave and could be a particle, it all depends when you look. It exists in our world and universe, it is the quantum world, a place that has been baffling the brightest physics minds for a century or so.

At the moment there are six explanations of what could be happening in this surreal world. The names of them are as strange as the theories, there is the Copenhagen Interpretation, the Timeless Transactional Interpretation, The Not so Impossible Pilot Wave Interpretation, the Ensemble Non-Interpretation the Excess baggage Many Worlds Interpretation and my favourite titled one, the Incoherent Decoherence Interpretation.

This is a very strange and surreal world, even Einstein couldn’t really explain what was going on and called it spooky action at a distance. As soon as physicists think they have defined a set of rules that this crazy world conforms to, something is discovered that proves them wrong, but not fully wrong, just enough for a new set of theories to evolve, hence why we have these six concepts in this little book.

I can safely say that no one understands quantum mechanics – Richard Feynman

And can assure you that I am still one of them… In some ways, I feel enlightened by what I have read in here, in other ways I am still utterly baffled by some of the concepts that Gribbin explores. That said he writes about this incredibly complex subject and highlights the significant people who have been thinking about this for a long time. I liked the way that each of the interpretations is summed up in a single sentence with a wry humour.

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3 Comments

  1. Ha! This one sounds like mind-boggling fun – cheers!

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