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In that same year, Erwin Schrödinger christened this spooky correlation "entanglement." Yet its existence wasn't firmly established until 1964, in a groundbreaking paper by the Irish physicist John Bell. What happened during those years and what has happened since to refine the understanding of this phenomenon is the fascinating story told here.
We move from a coffee shop in Zurich, where Einstein and Max von Laue discuss the madness of quantum theory, to a bar in Brazil, as David Bohm and Richard Feynman chat over cervejas. We travel to the campuses of American universities - from J. Robert Oppenheimer's Berkeley to the Princeton of Einstein and Bohm to Bell's Stanford sabbatical - and we visit centers of European physics: Copenhagen, home to Bohr's famous institute, and Munich, where Werner Heisenberg and Wolfgang Pauli picnic on cheese and heady discussions of electron orbits.
Drawing on the papers, letters, and memoirs of the 20th century's greatest physicists, Louisa Gilder both humanizes and dramatizes the story by employing their own words in imagined face-to-face dialogues. Here are Bohr and Einstein clashing, and Heisenberg and Pauli deciding which mysteries to pursue. We see Schrödinger and Louis de Broglie pave the way for Bell, whose work here is given a long-overdue revisiting. And with his characteristic matter-of-fact eloquence, Richard Feynman challenges his contemporaries to make something of this entanglement.
In this stunning debut, Gilder has found a wholly original way of bringing to life a tale of physics in progress.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mark Davey on 06-03-10
A nice mix of theory and history.
Entanglement has vexed some of the greatest minds of the 20th century and this is what I loved about this book. Books on physics (other than text books) tend to either be histories focused on an individual or books focus on a subject matter. I really enjoyed how the author unraveled the subject over time through the individuals making the discoveries creating a interesting timeline. It did start a little slow but got very intersting later.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
By Michael on 02-14-10
This book started at bit slowly and got better as it went. I wonder if the writing started at the middle and the first few chapters were added on later. Perhaps the reports of conversations from direct interviews are just much more compelling than the conversations recreated from letters and notes. I nearly gave up after the first couple of hours, but then it started getting better, and it continued getting better for hour after hour, ending very strong. This is well worth listening to. The tone and level seems great for a general audience and is still interesting for those who already know some of the physics and history.
20 of 22 people found this review helpful