Adventures in Quantumland: Exploring Our Unseen Reality
Praise for Adventures in Quantumland:
"I greatly enjoyed Ruth Kastner's book .... a good, readable
exposition of a model which not only removes the mystery from quantum
mechanics but offers an explanation of the underlying way quantum
effects produce the structure of spacetime and give us the impression
of an arrow of time, while allowing us genuine free will. As the
author puts it, Spacetime is the smile on the Cheshire Cat; the Cat is
quantum physics." -- John Gribbin (author of In Search of
"Kastner opens a window into quantum mechanics that's never been seen
before ... A fascinating view where the pieces of the quantum puzzle
seem to fall into place."-- Doug Marman
(author of Lenses of Perception: A Surprising New Look at the Origin
of Life, the Laws of Nature, and Our Universe)
From the publisher:
In Adventures in Quantumland: Exploring Our Unseen Reality, Dr. Ruth
Kastner explores the unexpected and deeply puzzling world of the
quantum, which gives rise to the concrete world we experience around
us with our five senses, but which, for the most part, remains
stubbornly hidden from view. In this sense, the quantum realm is much
like the Cheshire Cat (featured on the book's front cover), who can
remain hidden or choose to show only his smile to us, seemingly at
Following on Unseen Reality, this exciting new book deepens and
extends an accessible presentation of a fruitful new formulation of
quantum theory, the Transactional Interpretation (TI), in its fully
relativistic incarnation. The transactional framework helps us to
understand how the 'Cheshire Cat' of the quantum realm can remain
hidden or suddenly appear to us through the seemingly mysterious, but
ultimately explainable, process of "measurement." The book sheds new
light on longstanding conceptual problems in quantum theory, such as
the 'Schrodinger's Cat' paradox, which arises from earlier
unsuccessful efforts to define the process of measurement-that is, the
process by which the quantum 'Cheshire Cat' shows its face to us in
our phenomenal, sensory universe of time and space.
This non-technical but conceptually clear study of the relativistic
form of TI explores fertile new ground in interpreting quantum theory,
presenting a previously unsuspected but compelling picture of quantum
reality. Unlike competing quantum interpretations, the transactional
picture lends itself naturally and smoothly to the relativistic
domain. The relativistic development not only completes the
interpretation by identifying a 'missing link' in the crucial role of
coupling between quantum fields, but also resolves earlier challenges
raised against TI. The book shows how the transactional picture breaks
out of previous constraining interpretive paradigms that had been
preventing necessary new insights into the intrinsically relational
and interactive nature of the quantum realm. Besides its solution to
the 'Schrodinger Cat Paradox,' it sheds light on other quantum
puzzles, such as the origin of the 'Born Rule' for the probabilities
of measurement results. Along the way, it makes sense out of some
apparently perplexing experiments such as 'weak measurements' and the
'quantum eraser.' Finally, the book presents a way forward for
reconciliation of science with long-standing spiritual ways of
knowing, proposing that the hidden realm of quantum theory may have
significant parallels with diverse cultural concepts of the sacred.
Thus, both outer (scientific) and inner (spiritual) modes of inquiry
may be arriving-from opposite directions-at the same fundamental,
From Reviewer Jehannum on amazon.com:
5.0 out of 5 stars
This book provides a revolutionary understanding of quantum physics.
It's common to come out of a study of quantum physics with more questions than one started with. The ideal reader for 'Adventures in Quantumland' would be someone who has looked a little into quantum theory but who has come away dissatisfied and disillusioned with the many conflicting interpretations currently in circulation.
Faced with this problem, the casual student can simply move on to something new. The physics undergraduate can adopt a "shut up and calculate" approach that will get them through classes and exams but won't really provide satisfactory answers to the questions that got them interested in science in the first place.
'Adventures in Quantumland' presents an interpretation of quantum physics that fits perfectly with the underlying mathematics. In the Transactional Interpretation (TI) there are no ad hoc additions such as hidden variables. Every element of the mathematics has some physical referent within the model. The TI answers all of the outstanding questions that have plagued the subject for years.
Like the author's previous book 'Understanding Our Unseen Reality', this one is primarily non-mathematical. However, it progresses further, including insights into the meaning of Dirac's brac-ket notation. A beautiful example of this is given on page 87, where a string of notation from quantum field theory is interpreted into simple English, step-by-step (from right to left, of course).
The book goes far beyond solving classic conundrums such as the Double Slit Experiment, Schrodinger's Cat, and so on. Those who are puzzled as to why quantum physics does not appear to mesh with Einstein's Relativity will find their questions answered (and solved) here. Those who wonder over the origins of the Born Rule will find that it arises naturally within the Transactional Interpretation.
The book's core idea is that the mathematics of quantum physics, with its complex numbers and multi-dimensional vector spaces, is telling us that reality is too large to take place in the 3+1 dimensional container most of us believe the universe to be. It's a revolutionary idea – that spacetime itself is emergent: a product of phenomena occurring in a greater, quantum realm. Kastner's Relativistic Transactional Interpretation (RTI) shows us there is no conflict between Relativity (a spacetime theory) and quantum physics (which does not originate in spacetime).
The role of the philosopher of science is to closely examine the interpretation of scientific theories, pointing out any unwarranted assumptions that may have been missed (or in Kastner's words, "smuggled in"). This is something Ruth Kastner does without fear, taking aim at Bohr, Bohmian Mechanics, the Many-Worlds Interpretation (including one of its leading proponents, Sean Carroll), "decoherence", "weak measurements", and even the Schrodinger equation. Later chapters deal with consciousness, free will (watch out Sam Harris), and other philosophical aspects relating to quantum physics.
After reading this book you'll smile quietly to yourself whenever you see a lecture or video puzzling over some mysterious aspect of quantum physics because you'll probably know the answer. (Review by "Jehannum", amazon.com, retrieved from https://tinyurl.com/s6b24ud on 3/2/20)