Permeated by the author's delightful humor, this little book explains, with nearly no mathematics, the main conceptual issues associated with quantum mechanics:
The issue of determinism. Does quantum mechanics signify the end of a deterministic word-view?
The role of the human subject or of the "observer" in science. Since Copernicus, science has increasingly tended to dethrone Man from his formerly held special position in the Universe. But quantum mechanics, with its emphasis on the notion of observation, may once more have given a central role to the human subject.
The issue of locality. Does quantum mechanics imply that instantaneous actions at a distance exist in Nature?
In these pages the author offers a variety of views and answers - bad as well as good - to these questions. The reader will be both entertained and enlightened by Jean Bricmont's clear and incisive arguments.
Jean Bricmont (born in 1952) is a theoretical physicist and a professor at the Université Catholique de Louvain. He works on statistical and mathematical physics but has also written about philosophy of science. He is mostly known to the non-academic audience for co-authoring Fashionable Nonsense (also known as Intellectual Impostures) with Alan Sokal, in which they criticize abuses of scientific concepts by postmodernist thinkers and relativism in the philosophy of science.
What are the Issues raised by Quantum Mechanics?.- The First Mystery: Interference.- "Philosophical" Intermezzo I: What is Determinism?.- How do Physicists deal with Interference?.- Schrödinger's Cat and Hidden Variables.- "Philosophical" Intermezzo II: What is Wrong with "Observations"?.- The Second Mystery: Nonlocality.- How to do "The Impossible", a Quantum Mechanics without Observers: The de Broglie-Bohm Theory.- Many Worlds.- A Revised History of Quantum Mechanics.- The Cultural Impact of Quantum Mechanics.- Summary of the Main Theses of this Book.