Something Deeply HiddenPosted: December 11, 2019
Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime
Narrated by the author
Penguin Audio, September 10, 2019
$14.99 for Audible members, more for non-members
purchased with an Audible credit
Perhaps I am a glutton for punishment, but this is the second audiobook on quantum mechanics that I have listened to in the past couple of months. The previous book was What is Real?. The books cover some the the same material, but are really quite different.
The author of What is Real, Adam Becker, has a degree in physics but works as a writer and journalist. Sean Carroll, author of the present book, is a working physicist, although he is well known for his popular books on science. Becker discusses the history, people, and politics around quantum theory in addition to the theories themselves, while Carroll sticks mostly to the science, touching on those other matters when necessary. Becker tries for a balanced approach to the various theories, which can get confusing. Carroll, on the other hand, openly advocates one theory, which can get confusing.
The dominant school of quantum mechanics is the Copenhagen interpretation, while the school that Carroll advocates is known as “many worlds.” The Copenhagen interpretation says that we should accept the the mathematics of quantum mechanics and not try to understand what is actually going on behind it (“shut up and calculate”). The other schools, including many worlds, try to explain why we get the results that we do.
The book is capably read by the author. Since he wrote the book he knows what to emphasize and what requires less stress. You can hear in his voice when he is frustrated or exasperated by a particular approach or theory.
This is not light material, and is perhaps better read in print (paper or electronic), but it’s all fascinating stuff.