Quantum philosophy
December 21, 2010 5:00 AM   Subscribe

Who writes entertainingly about quantum physics and its philosophical implications?
posted by klue to Religion & Philosophy (17 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Leon at 5:21 AM on December 21, 2010

I very much enjoyed Mobius Dick by Andrew Crumey.
posted by greycap at 6:07 AM on December 21, 2010

You're looking for the works of Lee Smolin.
posted by brand-gnu at 6:16 AM on December 21, 2010

Robert Anton Wilson
posted by empath at 6:22 AM on December 21, 2010

Btw, if you really, really, really want to learn quantum mechanics, Leonard Susskind has an entire course on it on itunesU, but you really need the math background to follow it.
posted by empath at 6:24 AM on December 21, 2010

Fritjof Capra: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tao_of_Physics
posted by tipthepizzaguy at 6:27 AM on December 21, 2010

If it's scifi you want, maybe Alastair Reynolds, esp. some of the short stories in Zima Blue, though his work is more along the lines of "the (scientifically plausible) hyperdrive's erasing crewmembers from reality" action than "ooh multiple universes" philosophy.
posted by sninctown at 6:28 AM on December 21, 2010

Aw, damnit. empath beat me to Robert Anton Wilson.
posted by Netzapper at 7:13 AM on December 21, 2010

The book from whence my handle comes, "Cosmic Banditos", is pretty much what you want. It is a story of drug smuggling, mexican bandits, and quantum physics. Lots of zany antics coupled with large doses of basic quantum physics and bandito debauchery. The physics may be a bit outdated as it was written in the 1980's, and it touches on pretty basic stuff, but it's an amusing read.
posted by cosmicbandito at 8:08 AM on December 21, 2010

I'm going to second Lee Smollen, but with the caveat that you have to find thinking really, really hard entertaining. If so, he's your man.
posted by Toekneesan at 9:24 AM on December 21, 2010

Rudy Rucker
posted by Chenko at 10:32 AM on December 21, 2010

The God Particle by Leon Lederman is quite good and is probably quantum enough to suit.
posted by GodricVT at 11:45 AM on December 21, 2010

Slavoj Žižek: Lacan with quantum physics
posted by jfricke at 1:20 PM on December 21, 2010

I've heard many bad reviews (from my physics friends) about the accuracy of the physics in books like _The Tao of Physics_ and _The Dancing Wu Li Masters_. At university I took a philosophy of quantum mechanics course (co-taught by a philosopher and a physicist) and one of the more entertaining course readings was the (unfortunately titled) Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics by Nick Herbert.

Don't be thrown by its new-agey title. It isn't wide-eyed and breathless or obscure and mystical. It presents a skeleton outline of the theory of quantum mechanics, describes some of the experiments that led to its development, and discusses six competing interpretations of what the theory tells us about how the world is. The amazon comments do a good job of giving the flavor of it.
posted by mathtime! at 3:10 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Heisenberg (of the uncertainty principle) wrote Physics and Philosophy.
A bit old school perhaps, but fairly accessible and worth a read.
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:10 PM on December 21, 2010

Would Feynman work? I know he's fairly notorious for being a funny guy, but I don't know if he brought that into his writings on quantum physics.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:46 AM on December 22, 2010

David Albert.
posted by painquale at 4:42 PM on December 27, 2010

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