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Download The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family fb2, epub

by Peter Byrne

Download The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family fb2, epub

ISBN: 0199552274
Author: Peter Byrne
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (June 6, 2010)
Pages: 456
Category: Words Language & Grammar
Subcategory: Reference
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 750
Size Fb2: 1269 kb
Size ePub: 1548 kb
Size Djvu: 1247 kb
Other formats: doc txt docx lit


Peter Byrne has done an excellent job in unearthing documents, most of them unknown, about the history of Everett's ideas, their reception by the leading physicists from 1957 until today, and the consequences this had for Everett's life. -H. Dieter Zeh, University of Heidelberg.

Peter Byrne has done an excellent job in unearthing documents, most of them unknown, about the history of Everett's ideas, their reception by the leading physicists from 1957 until today, and the consequences this had for Everett's life. Peter Byrne is an investigative reporter and science writer based in northern California. He has written for Scientific American, Mother Jones, Salon. com, SF Weekly, North Bay Bohemian, and many other magazines and newsweeklies

Peter Byrne tells the story of Hugh Everett III (1930-1982), whose "many worlds" theory of multiple universes has . The Many-Worlds Interpretation is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking ideas in modern science.

Peter Byrne tells the story of Hugh Everett III (1930-1982), whose "many worlds" theory of multiple universes has had a profound impact on physics and philosophy. Using Everett's unpublished papers (recently discovered in his son's basement) and dozens of interviews with his friends, colleagues, and surviving family members, Byrne paints, for the general reader, a detailed Peter Byrne tells the story of Hugh Everett III (1930-1982), whose "many worlds" theory of multiple universes has had a profound impact on physics and philosophy.

In histories of quantum physics, Hugh Everett III’s name appears frequently, but without much about the life of the man behind the name. He did not pursue a career in academic physics, opting instead to work as an analyst for secret military projects, and he died young, in 1982 at age 51. In Everett’s 1957 P. dissertation, he introduced a radical view of quantum mechanics, the mathematics that governs reality with unfathomable weirdness

Peter Byrne tells the story of Hugh Everett III (1930-1982), whose "many worlds" theory of multiple universes has had a profound impact on physics and philosophy

Peter Byrne tells the story of Hugh Everett III (1930-1982), whose "many worlds" theory of multiple universes has had a profound impact on physics and philosophy Everett's mathematical model (called the "universal wave function") treats all possible events as "equally real", and concludes that countless copies of every person and thing exist in all possible configurations spread over an infinity of universes: many worlds. Using Everett's unpublished papers (recently discovered in his son's basement) and dozens of interviews with his friends, colleagues, and surviving family members, Byrne paints, for the general reader, a detailed portrait of the genius who invented an astonishing way of describing our complex universe from the inside.

Oxford University Press (2012). Similar books and articles. Everett’s Pure Wave Mechanics and the Notion of Worlds

Oxford University Press (2012). It may take many decades for mathematical progress to be matched by philosophical understanding. Everett’s Pure Wave Mechanics and the Notion of Worlds. Jeffrey A. Barrett - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):277-302. Nuclear Deterrence and Moral Restraint: Critical Choices for American Strategy. Henry Shue (e. - 1989 - Cambridge University Press. The Theory of the Universal Wave Function.

of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family", (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Subjects: History and Philosophy of Physics (physics. hist-ph); General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (gr-qc); High Energy Physics - Theory (hep-th); Quantum Physics (quant-ph). Journal reference: A.

"The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett" by Peter Byrne, from Scientific American, December 2007. a b c d e f g h i Peter Byrne (2010). The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family. Oxford University Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-19-955227-6.

Author: Peter Byrne ISBN 10: 0199552274. Used-like N : The book pretty much look like a new book. Hugh Everett III's Many Worlds theory, of infinite multiple universes, is now considered a hugely important breakthrough in the history of physics

Author: Peter Byrne ISBN 10: 0199552274. Read full description. See details and exclusions. Hugh Everett III's Many Worlds theory, of infinite multiple universes, is now considered a hugely important breakthrough in the history of physics. This book tells the story of the physics establishment's rejection of his theory, his subsequent Pentagon career in nuclear strategy, and his difficult personal life and eventual death from alcoholism.

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Peter Byrne tells the story of Hugh Everett III (1930-1982), whose "many worlds" theory of multiple universes has had a profound impact on physics and philosophy. Using Everett's unpublished papers (recently discovered in his son's basement) and dozens of interviews with his friends, colleagues, and surviving family members, Byrne paints, for the general reader, a detailed portrait of the genius who invented an astonishing way of describing our complex universe from the inside. Everett's mathematical model (called the "universal wave function") treats all possible events as "equally real", and concludes that countless copies of every person and thing exist in all possible configurations spread over an infinity of universes: many worlds.Afflicted by depression and addictions, Everett strove to bring rational order to the professional realms in which he played historically significant roles. In addition to his famous interpretation of quantum mechanics, Everett wrote a classic paper in game theory; created computer algorithms that revolutionized military operations research; and performed pioneering work in artificial intelligence for top secret government projects. He wrote the original software for targeting cities in a nuclear hot war; and he was one of the first scientists to recognize the danger of nuclear winter. As a Cold Warrior, he designed logical systems that modeled "rational" human and machine behaviors, and yet he was largely oblivious to the emotional damage his irrational personal behavior inflicted upon his family, lovers, and business partners. He died young, but left behind a fascinating record of his life, including correspondence with such philosophically inclined physicists as Niels Bohr, Norbert Wiener, and John Wheeler. These remarkable letters illuminate the long and often bitter struggle to explain the paradox of measurement at the heart of quantum physics. In recent years, Everett's solution to this mysterious problem-the existence of a universe of universes-has gained considerable traction in scientific circles, not as science fiction, but as an explanation of physical reality.

Comments:

Hap
This is a meticulously researched and clearly written account of the origin and development of Everett's "Many Worlds" interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, from Everett's early discussions with his advisor Wheeler to the more modern ideas of the role of decoherence, all interwoven with the story of Everett's personal life and work as a cold war military analyst. The accounts of the archive of notes and papers found in Everett's basement are full of fascinating insights into his thinking and interactions with colleagues. Even if one is not interested in the history, though, the book stands as one of the clearest non-mathematical expositions I have read of this increasingly important interpretation. It's a unique book, well worth the price.
The Rollers of Vildar
Everett’s son Mark wrote in a Foreword to this 2010 book, “Growing up in my family once was odd enough. I had no desire to do it again. As a means of survival I decided I had to always be moving forward. I ran to California and made a new life for myself. After the deaths of my father, mother, and sister, I was left with the grizzly task of going back to the family house in Virginia and cleaning it out… I unceremoniously stacked box after box of my family’s past onto shelves … I knew the day was coming when the boxes would have to be opened… I still don’t relish going back to that world… I can smell death in the aid. I was sure those boxes held the same smell. Luckily Peter Byrne came along to smell those boxes for me. The boxes have now become this book… Peter managed to dig through the smell and bring the people buried in the boxes back to life… It’s been a great pleasure to have this new part-time job of helping my father get the attention he didn’t get while he was alive. I’ve learned to forgive him for his shortcomings as a father by identifying with him in some ways.”

Author Peter Byrne wrote in the Introduction, “This is a book about anti-heroes. It’s about a tragically dysfunctional American family as reconstructed from intimate records and memories of the living. It’s about the technocratic mindset that waged the Cold War, bringing humanity to the brink of destruction under the banner of rationality… These three strands---quantum mechanics, computerized war gaming, and the fate of a small, nuclear family shaped during the Cold War---gradually weave together as we tell the story of a powerfully intelligent, but morally conflicted man who significantly affected our world.”
(Pg. 8)

He explains, “Everett showed that it is mathematically consistent to say that when a scientist measures the position of an atomic particle, he SPLITS into numerous copies of himself. Each copy resides in a different universe. And each copy sees the particle in a different position. The set of all copies covers the set of all possible particle positions inside a MULTIVERSE. According to Everett, each universe inside the multiverse is continually branching, like a tree, into separate but parallel worlds that cannot communicate with each other. Each parallel universe records a self-consistent history drawn from a range of physically possible histories. No one of these universes is any more or less real than another. Importantly, this does not mean that ANYTHING is possible: physical reality exercises certain constraints on what is probable.” (Pg. 5)

He continues, “A consequence of the ‘many worlds’ logic is that there are universes in which dinosaurs survived and humans remained shrew-like; universes in which YOU win the state lottery every week; universes in which Wall Street does not exist and global resources are equally shared. Sure, it seems like an improbable idea, but the many worlds theory is widely recognized as a major contender for interpreting how quantum theory links to physical reality… And some scientists claim that recent discoveries made by satellites mapping the microwave residue of the Big Bang might be evidence validating Everett’s theory!... Whether you believe it or not, understanding the argument of Everett’s many worlds model is of central importance to any attempt to rationalize the mysteries of the quantum world.” (Pg. 5-6)

He summarizes, “This is a book about anti-heroes. It’s about a tragically dysfunctional American family as reconstructed from intimate records and memories of the living. It’s about the technocratic mindset that waged the Cold War, bringing humanity to the brink of destruction under the banner of rationality. It’s about the seemingly intractable problem of modeling and understanding a complex system from within that same system---be that a quantum system of multiple universes, or a political system composed of mirrored superpowers facing off with hydrogen bombs, or a sad and confused family stumbling toward destruction while surrounded by socio-economic privilege. These three strands---quantum mechanics, computerized war gaming, and the fate of a small, nuclear family shaped during the Cold War---gradually weave together as we tell the story of a powerfully intelligent, but morally conflicted man who significantly affected our world.” (Pg. 8)

Later, he says, “The existential proof of any theory, said Everett, is that the world appears as it appears. Reality itself is the verification of the theory, because it is impossible to sense self-splitting, or the existence of multiple universes.” (Pg. 174) He continues, “When Everett’s paper appeared … it included ‘splitting’ in a footnote! He had inserted it when he proofed the galleys: ‘…some correspondents have raised the question of the “transition from possible to actual,” arguing that in “reality” there is---as our experience testifies---no such splitting of observer states, so that only one branch can ever actually exist… the following is offered as an explanation. The whole issue of the transition from “possible” to “actual” it taken care of in the theory in a very simple way---there is no such transition, nor is any such transition necessary for the theory to be in accord with our experience. From the viewpoint of the theory all elements of a superposition (all “branches”) are “actual,” none any more “real” than the rest. It is unnecessary to suppose that all but one are somehow destroyed… This total lack of effect of any one branch on another also implies that no observer will ever be aware of any “splitting” process.’” (Pg. 177)

In 1961, Everett attended a Conference on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, and was interviewed by a panel. Wendell Furry, one of the interviewers, made this statement to Everett: “To me, the hard thing about it is that one must picture the world, oneself, and everybody else as consisting not in just a countable number of copies but somehow or another in an undenumerable number of copies, and at this my imagination balks. I can think of various alternative Furrys doing different things, but I cannot think of a non-denumerable number of alternative Furrys.” (Pg. 255)

Byrne points out near the end of the book, “The burning question is: are the Everett worlds real? For… their supporters, yes, according to quantum mechanics. They have yet to convince the world, but Saunders makes the excellent point that nothing similar to their logical arguments has been made for sustaining a one-world realist interpretation of quantum mechanics---or any one-world realist theory of probability, for that matter. The idea that indeterminism rules the quantum world in one-world theories rests on familiarity and tradition, rather than an understanding of what physical chance really is…” (PG. 382)

Although I was most interested in Everett’s “many worlds” ideas, Byrne’s book also looks unflinchingly at Everett’s many faults, and provides interesting insights into the psychology of those involved in our defense preparations during the Cold War (peace advocates may be appalled that such a flawed man was in such a position of influence!). This excellent-written book will be of keen interest to a diverse variety of readers.
Gavirim
I am not a physicist. What I appreciate about this book is that it is understandable for the non-physicist. It makes sense of what appears to be a very complex idea put forward by a man 50 years ago when cosmology was in a very different place than it is today. Everett had an insight that shook the foundations of orthodoxy. As have other great minds and forerunners of new thought, he suffered for his science.

I highly recommend this book for those who are interested in cosmology and quantum mechanics. The book is well written and well edited. I enjoyed reading it and I am assuming the many copies of me inhabiting all those multiverses had a good time too.
Daizil
As a theoretical computer scientist and avid amateur physicist, intellectual honesty compels me to give this book five stars. There is no better layman's exposition of Everettian quantum mechanics available, and if, like me, you also like to read about both the historical and personal contexts in which scientific theories evolve, the book is simply irreplaceable. I must also point out that Peter Byrne, not being a physicist, has set a popular physics writing standard that other authors can only aspire to.

The only glaring weakness I find in the book is in its treatment of Cold War game theory, RAND, and the entire milieu of attempts to define and promulgate rational decision making in the context of the possibility of global thermonuclear war. It's the only area in which Byrne's personal biases seem to surmount his obvious desire and considerable skill in presenting both history and people in their own context. Here I must instead recommend Sharon McGrayne's The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy for a perspective that, I think, successfully communicates the horror that Byrne wishes to convey, without lapsing into what reads to me as "the unthinkable is unthinkable," which would affect, e.g. actuarial science as adversely as public policy.

Still, it is easy enough to set that aside and appreciate the presentation of a brilliant man who fearlessly trod where Schrödinger's equation took him, who blazed trails in the Cold War and in software development, and whose personal demons ultimately destroyed him and his family. Recommended as highly as is possible.
Risa
Fascinating story, well researched and written. Not a glorifying image of Bohr and Wheeler: Bohr and entourage come across as a dogmatic click full of themselves, while Wheeler as a wishy-washy spineless person who did not nourish his own brilliant student. Everett himself, not the nicest character. Significant space is allocated to the cold war, but I enjoyed mostly the physics sections.

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