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Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality: Solving the Quantum Mysteries

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  918 ratings  ·  42 reviews
In this eagerly anticipated sequel to the classic bestseller In Search of Schrodinger's Cat, John Gribbin digs even deeper into the mysterious and confounding world of quantum mechanics. Gribbin takes infinitely complex, mind-bending experiments, brings them to life, and makes them accessible to the lay reader. Under his deft guidance, we can begin to grasp the fundamental ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 1996 by Back Bay Books (first published 1984)
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Community Reviews

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Y'know, this book had hope. It did. Okay, so it started off talking about light, and the study of it, and the history of the study of it, and I didn't quite get where Gribbin was going with all this, but y'know, it had hope.

And then I kept reading.

Oh, god, it was dry. Really slow, really dry, and in the end, I don't think even Gribbin knew what he was talking about. It could have been good. I would have even been happy if he just kept talking about light. But there's talking in circles to expla
Cheyenne Blue
For all that I adore science fiction, I'm not a natural scientist. Physics ties my brain in knots and anything much past Boyle's Law is an incomprehensible morass. You can explain until you're puce how airplanes stay up, but I just don't get it.

However, I WANT to get it. Specifically, I want to "get" the exciting parts of science, like time travel and "Beam me up, Scotty". I want to know how the universe was formed and what dark matter is. And I especially want to know how Schrodinger's cat is b
Chris Simmons
Hefty material - if you're not comfortable with in-depth discussion of advanced physics topics, you won't like it. I liked it, but I found that the enthusiasm I had in the first half of the book didn't carry through to the end. This is more likely due to my lack of stamina in digesting books with advanced topics outside of my normal areas of expertise.
Gribbin is a better than average science writer, with a Ph.D. in astrophysics. This book covers the remarkable quantum physics experiments and more since the publication of "In Search of Schrodingers Cat". It's a good read, but too many pages are devoted to going over the many variations of double-slit experiments, and I found a number of places where the explanations lack a crucial phrase or perhaps a better diagram.

Even though the book was published in 1996, the major experiments in the field
A fun and (I think) accessible book. Gribbin's tone reminds me a lot of my General Chemistry professor in college who would start off with analogies for the folks in class who had absolutely no previous knowledge or understanding of a concept and proceed to work his way up to more complex explanations. I mentioned reading this book to my mom who is just about the least-science oriented person I know and she's going to give it a shot and let me know if I'm completely off base here. I liked it bet ...more
David Williamson
Schrödinger’s Kittens takes you through a tour de force of Quantum theory, specifically theory, as in not actual, but analogy. Gribbin uses models to explain reality, or at least Quantum reality. Using whichever model works best intuitively to describe what could be going on. I mean the guy references Kuhn and Heidegger, and then goes onto refer to Kreiger, a physicist by trade, who goes even further stating there is no such thing as a correct model, period. I mean this is the kind of science I ...more
An excellent review of quantum physics and reality

This is one of the best books I have read that reviews both classical and quantum physics to explain the nature of physical reality. Although somewhat outdated, it describes all major schools of thoughts (interpretations) of quantum reality in layman's terms with comparisons and numerous references to the work of other authors. Although this is written for a general reader; it requires some knowledge of undergraduate level physics.

The physics of
Pretty good lay explanation of quantum mechanics, although some general science education would be helpful in understanding it.

What I liked most was the author's observation that when we speak of science, we are not really speaking about absolute truths- rather, we are defining a model that can accurately explain and predict the universe. The author shows how more than one model can be used, and how the very human aspects of the scientists lead to "trends" in the development of scientific theori
I almost did not read this book as Gribbin's previous book, In search of Schroedinger's Cat, was a little difficult to get through. I'm very glad I went ahead and read it as it was eye-opening in several respects with clear and concise thinking and writing about the possibilities of going faster than light and backwards in time. I enjoyed it.
Josh Barkey
I'm rating this book a two, but just because I couldn't really understand it, so the whole time I read it my brain hurt. I rate these things largely on the basis of my subjective experience anyways, rather than by some objective criterion.

It was cool, though, and exposed me to some nifty ideas about the universe.
I came to this book while doing research in some aspects of Quantum Physics (for a SF novel). I’m sorry that I didn’t read it when it came up (1995) because it’s amazing and holds incredibly well after two decades.

Gribbin manages to make easy to understand some of the most difficult aspects in the quantum world—the dual-slit experiment, all the way to teleportation; the subtle points of Feyman’s view about quantum processes; how some miscalculations confused the best experts and perpetuated an i
Ed Smiley
Excellent. Very engaging for the mind.

Although there may not fully be a "solution" for the current state of quantum mechanics. As the author points out that more or less all current interpretations that lead to a way of "understanding" quantum mechanics, do not differ in their actual testable predictions. A future extended theory might be hypothesized to incorporate features that would yield falsifiable differential predictions.

If you don't care, or have already read the book:
(view spoiler)
Jim Kennedy
Another excellent book from John Gribbin. Once again he is visiting quantum mechanics (QM) and discussing how far it has come since his previous book on the subject (In Search of Schrodinger's Cat). He gives a much briefer history here - he presumes you have read the previous book. Then he gets in to the meat of modern interpretations / models of QM. Tough going at times, but he really does have a knack for explaining things as well as is probably possible. The last few chapters tie things toget ...more
This is a nicely written and easy to follow book on stays light on the underlying mathematics and formulae...thankfully. It stays true to it's goal (so far at least) to be a fairly accessible wading into the swamp of QM. The author nicely lays out the problems and simplifies (not dumbing down) mind experiments that help to visualize the problems, possibilities and weirdness of quantum particles. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in the subject as a nicely written history and examin ...more
An interesting title about quantum mechanics, a book that takes a long time to get through. I, a layman, will read it again, slowly. I've read several other books on this topic, one that is mind boggling.

Merged review:

Extremely dry. At the same time, it raises a lot of fascinating questions.

Dr. Gribbin says he has doubts about David Deutsche's ideas regarding parallel universes. Sometime in the future, I would like to read some of DD's books.

IMHO as a layman, this book should be read slowly beca
One of the best books to understand Quantum Mechanics. John Gribbin explains the experiments that scientists conducted in eloquent detail.
Nov 11, 2008 Larry rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers familiar with Gibbon's books
John Gribben is a gifted science explainer, in the style of the late Isaac Azimov. His previous books have explored the history of physics and cosmology and here his mission is to bring the lay reader up to date on the latest theories and speculations in the quantum world. The new large hadron collider at the CERN may give proof or may refute some of these unknowns so that some may say that science has provided yet more deep and subtle truths, adn others will say that it discloses the greater gr ...more
Hugh Chatfield
Interesting chapter on the backward in time solution to Maxwell's equations.
Could NOT get into this one. Can't decide if my complete failure to wrap my head around it was my fault, the book's, or quantum physics'. Had a couple of interesting moments but was mostly basically impenetrable and took me a ridiculously long time to slog through. Certainly no In Search of Schrodinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality.
Kim Jong
Nov 06, 2007 Kim Jong rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nerds, people who want to know everything about everything at a deeper level
I like Gribbin's knack for explaining quantum theory in layman's terms. I was a little surprised at the amount of biographical information about the major players that he includes. At first I thought it was mere padding. In the end I'm glad it was there to give insight into the minds of these physicists at their respective points along the scientific timeline. The book's conclusion makes me hope that at least a few of the quantum mysteries are solved within my lifetime....
Kathy  Petersen
This book really deserves five stars, but because I have a mind that doesn't easily comprehend math and science, it got the lesser rating. Still, I love the exploration of quantam mysteries and other such things I'll likely never understand. Gribben does do a fine job of delving into this odd world, with an endearing touch of personality and unpretentious humor.
Jason Johnson
Interesting book that covers the history and science behind Quantum mechanics. The author does a good job covering the history leading up to major discoveries. However, at times the authors style makes it difficult to follow (transitions between topics are too abrupt). Overall this is a decent read for those interested in science and history.
One of the best books on quantum mechanices I have read out of half a dozen. It presents a history of quantum mechanics and "explains" basic quantum events fairly well. It's strong point is in clearly delineating between physical reality and mathematical models. It also presents an intriguing alternative model of quantum mechanics.
This is a work to pick up again. Not fond of some of the examples Mr. Gribbins sees to relate to, SPECIALLY NOT THE KITTENS. But I found that when he mentioned theories of time, he truly understood them enough to make them impressionable, if not understandable to me.
It took me quite some time because I couldn't just read it like a novel. I kept rereading sentences, paragraphs and entire pages because sometimes I didn't understand what was said but I got to say that the author described quantum physics rather well.
Dec 08, 2013 Sean rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who prefer analogies to equations.
This is a sequel to Gribbin's "In Search of Schrodinger's Cat." I am currently reading this, so I will reserve full judgment until later. However, it seems to be better than the original so far, and seems to be focusing mostly on the nature of light.
A love of esoteric knowledge drew me to this and some other pop physics books (including In Search of Schroedinger's Cat), I forget when exactly but at least 10 years ago. One of them taught me about waves and particles. Rad.
A handsomely accessible survey of the counterintuitive world that is quantum mechanics. Much superior, I think, to its earlier companion, In Search of Schrodinger's Cat, also by John Gribbin.
William Lovas

Possibly worth taking the author seriously when he suggests, at the end of the prologue ("the problem"), that you skip directly to the epilogue ("the solution"). I did not..
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John R. Gribbin (born 1946) is a British science writer, an astrophysicist, and a visiting fellow in astronomy at the University of Sussex. The topical range of his prolific writings include quantum physics, biographies of famous scientists, human evolution, the origins of the universe, climate change and global warming. His also writes science fiction.

John Gribbin graduated with his bachelor's de
More about John Gribbin...
In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors In Search of the Multiverse Science of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Deep Simplicity: Bringing Order to Chaos and Complexity

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