Jan 28, 2009

Daughter and Father--The Gilders

I've been trying to learn more about quantum physics and have found a number of sites with lectures and articles. By far the most interesting video is an hour-long presentation by a beautiful young woman, Louisa Gilder. She is the author of the new book, "The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics was Reborn."
A brilliantly original and richly illuminating exploration of entanglement, the seemingly telepathic communication between two separated particles—one of the fundamental concepts of quantum physics.

In 1935, in what would become the most cited of all of his papers, Albert Einstein showed that quantum mechanics predicted such a correlation, which he dubbed “spooky action at a distance.” 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....

Drawing on the papers, letters, and memoirs of the twentieth 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 is here given a long-overdue revisiting. And with his characteristic matter-of-fact eloquence, Richard Feynman challenges his contemporaries to make something of this entanglement....
The book was published November 2008 and is receiving very good comments from well-known reviewers, as shown at the Amazon website. Quantum entanglement of particles and the history of science are of great interest to me and I am looking forward to reading Louisa Gilder's new book.

Louisa Gilder is the daughter of George Gilder, the founder of the Discovery Institute and author of many conservative books. Among many other things, he is the author of Sexual Suicide (1973, revised and reissued as Men and Marriage in 1986), upon which Time chose Gilder as the "Male Chauvinist Pig of the Year."

Here's an example of Discovery Institute work on bioethics:
Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith is Discovery's most active contributor to bioethics. Mr. Smith, a prolific author, activist, and former Ralph Nader co-author, has become one of the nation's leading advocates for the value and sanctity of human life. His most recent book, Consumer's Guide to the Brave New World presents a clear-eyed vision of two potential futures: In the first, biotechnology will be a powerful tool to treat disease and improve the quality of our lives. But in another, darker scenario, we will be steered onto the path that Aldous Huxley and other prophetic writers first warned against fifty year ago, before science fiction became science fact. Two of his other books, Forced Exit and Culture of Death, examined assisted suicide and the biomedical industry respectively. Mr. Smith is currently working on a book critiquing the radical animal rights movement.
The goals of the Discovery Institute have been attacked because they would "reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions."

If you don't recognize the organization, Discovery Institute, see it in action in Ben Stein's movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed that I've praised in at least three previous posts.


Alison said...

This is a book I should read but I wonder if I would understand it. . I never thing about these types of questions in terms of science and quite honestly have always thought that there are certain truths that can never be found discovered scientifically.

I've always looked at certain questions or heard discussions about these questions of movement and particles in terms of philosophy of even theology. I think of St. Thomas Aquinas and Fr. Garrigu-Lagrange discussing the relation of God to space or what St. Thomas called the "Divine Immensity in its relation to space." It also brings to mind Lucretius and his "atoms in the void theory." I loved the discussion in college from Professors Quinn and Senior on the "nunc fluens" and the "nunc stans" or whether you could touch a river (you can't). It was Boethius who said, "Nunc fluens facit temput; nunc stand facit aternitatem."

Great post. It certainly has me thinking.

Paul Lester said...

It's a great book. In the middle of reading it and it's like being able to talk to all the great deceased QM minds. It's helping in my own projects while I am not at a university right now. It's so accurate. Usually in books like these there are tons of errors. But so far I have found no physics errors.