Jim Coughenour's Reviews > The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn

The Age of Entanglement by Louisa Gilder
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's review
May 05, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: unreadable
Read in July, 2009

I'm sorry to say I abandoned this book for something as ridiculous as the way it was written. I'm sorry, because the subject is fascinating; and sorry because Louise Gilder is obviously an intelligent scholar. But for some reason she decided to write this history as a series of conversations – and it's this determined quirk that put my teeth on edge from the start. Here's an example from p. 103:

"We have always said so glibly," Heisenberg told his frustration, or the trees, or Bohr, or Einstein, "that the path of the electron in the cloud chamber can be observed." He turned to see his footprints among the frost, and he thought of the electron shooting through the cloud chamber, leaving its footprints of dew behind, small condensed clouds. "But perhaps," he continued slowly, "what we really observed was something much less. Perhaps" – he was walking faster now, his breath, like the electron, leaving clouds behind him....

Yikes. This isn't history; it's an awkward fictionalization, a conceit that collapses science into an entangled pile of clichés.

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