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Schrödinger's Kittens And The Search For Reality (Schrödinger's Cat #2)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  1,186 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
In this sequel to In Search of Schrodinger's Cat, Gribbin presents the latest evidence about the nature of light, the phenomenon that is the key ingredient in both quantum theory and relativity.
Paperback, 261 pages
Published February 5th 1996 by Phoenix (first published 1984)
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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.
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics
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 Although somewhat outdated, it describes all major schools of thoughts (interpretations) of quantum reality in layman's terms with comparisons and numerous references to the work of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
Dec 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
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
Mar 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics
Nespíš z této knížky nebudete skákat radostí a možná vás tak jako mě cca v půlce přepadne jakási krize, ale doporučuju chcete-li se něco dozvědět o historii kvantové mechaniky, o jejích interpretacích atd. Myslím, že je to vhodný i pro nefyziky a nematematiky.
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ege Özmeral
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kevin Leung
For the uninitiated like me, this book is a difficult but probably worthwhile read. Gribbin starts out in the prologue with some of the classic studies and experiments in quantum physics, then immediately jumps back through history back to Newton to explore the progression of our understanding of light. This section can be a bit confusing since he explores different models and theories that are now outdated and can conflict with what you know to be fact from high school physics. Although it can ...more
Michael Huang
A cute little short story applying the quantum uncertainty principle to life events.
Michael Garcia
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Search of Schrödinger's cat, by John Gribbin, is a book about quantum physics. For those of you still reading at this point, yes I know that's a scary topic, with all its common sense-defying weirdness. But that's why this book was written. It serves as a great introduction to today's most fundamental field of scientific research. I would highly recommend it to anyone willing to spend their free time learning about something for which they'll be ridiculed about later.

In the book, Gribbin exp
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Isigin, elektronlarin, fotonlarin ayrintili yapilarindan baslayip kuantum fiziginin teoremlerini tek tek inceleyen anlasilabilir bir kitap. 1994'e kadar olan gelismeleri iceriyor. Gercekten ilginiz yoksa okumaniza gerek de yok. Cunku bazi bolumleri ayrintisi fazla oldugu icin anlamak zor ve gercekten oturup dusunmek gerekiyor.
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, non-fiction
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
Steve O'Donnell
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Generally a very readable book, I don't understand the "dry" comments in other reviews. There's a whole bunch of lovely biographical/human interest asides which are the bits which I do understand. Being of an moderately advanced age I have put "understand quantum theory" on my bucket list. If Dick Feynman is right (and if you read his "popular" books he had an almost pathological desire to be right) I may be on a hiding to nothing. Certainly after reading this book I can say I still don't unders ...more
Ed Smiley
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kim Jong
Oct 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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....
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
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.
Eric Layton
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gribbin, as always, doesn't disappoint. If you have an interest in the weird world of Quantum Physics, this book goes a long way to describing/explaining some of the weirdest parts. It's well-written; mixing history with the science, so that you get a feel for how we got to where we are today in this field.

Don't forget to refer to the excellent bibliography at the back of the book for further reading.
Mike Brewer
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was an impulse "borrow" from the library. In hindsight, there is probably not much point reading a book on quantum physics that's 20 years old: I bet a lot was out of date. I ended up not really enjoying the book either: the explanations verge on being patronising, and he refers to his own work too many times for my liking.
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.
Sep 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-math
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.
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John R. Gribbin 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 includes 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 degree in phy
More about John Gribbin...

Other Books in the Series

Schrödinger's Cat (2 books)
  • In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality

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