Quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity are the two great pinacles of theoretical physics. And despite the fact that they are perhaps the most used theories in modern physics, quantum mechanics and GR seem to be incompatible. They both predict some amazing phenomena, which is hard to comprehend. Nevertheless, these days many physicists are working hard to join the two theories in order to fully explain gravity, black holes or even the mechanism of the Big Bang.”Hidden in Plain Sight” attempts to explain the link between the quantum theories and GR in a way that everyone could understand.
Hardcover: 194 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (2012)
Reviews: customer reviews
|Rating: ★★★★||Rank: 175,187||US version||UK version|
Andrew Thomas, the author of the book, studied physics in the James Clerk Maxwell Building in the Edinburgh University, and received his doctorate from Swansea University in 1992. He is the author of the What Is Reality? — a website dealing with questions of the fundamentals of physics.
According to the author, all the unifications in physics have been based on incredibly simple ideas. I can’t say that I fully agree with this idea, but I agree, that one of the aims of physicists should be unifying the main theories through the simplest and most fundamental ideas possible. The book starts with a summary of some of the most important historical unifications in physics. This part of the book, I have to admit, was really interesting — Thomas introduces the main driving forces behind the big unifications in physics. He argues in favor of coming up with a set of simple principles, upon which we could build the entire modern physics, instead of trying to find the main principles through observations. Or in other words, which should build up from the main principles instead of drilling down through experiments such as the LHC, which drills down into the deepest secrets of matter. While this approach seems philosophically satisfying it begs the question, how do we find this first principle? Well, according to the author Hidden in Plain Sight offers such a principle.
Now, at this point, I know what most of the readers will think — how can a book with almost no equations tackle with one of the greatest problems in theoretical physics? While I agree that it begs the question, I wouldn’t necessarily throw the book away just yet. Thomas offer a simple idea that the universe is absolutely everything that exists and there is no coordinate system existing separately from this universe — i.e. there is no absolute reference frame. This idea is basically what Thomas offers as a first principle, which could explain modern physics. As unbelievable as it sounds, the author does in fact give some interesting ideas how it could explain relativity.
Everything gets a bit trickier when the author tackles with the question of time. Thomas argues in favor of the block universe, which is basically a view of time with the past, the present and the future coexisting together. This inevitably leads to a question of whether free will exists or not. Unfortunately, the author simply refuses to tackle this question, as it is not defined scientifically and thus free will simply exists, according to the author. A rather poor way to handle such an important problem I’d say.
From then on, the book get’s even more confusing. The main problem in my eyes is that, to tackle such an abstract subject as the junction between quantum physics and relativity, mathematics is absolutely essential. And, since this book basically has no maths, it is limited to a philosophical approach of the problem only.
Overall, I have to conclude that the book will not satisfy expert readers and will have problems convincing anyone that the offered first principle can explain modern physics. Still, having in mind the cheap price of the book, I would recommend it to those interested in a more philosophical approach of the problem. It might not be all correct, but it does indeed have some interesting ideas here and there.
Category: Physics Books