Escape from shadow physics

Adam Kay


In stock

Since the dawn of quantum mechanics, scientists have insisted that what happens at the smallest scales of reality is impossible to describe. ‘When it comes to atoms’, Niels Bohr once wrote, ‘language can only be used as in poetry’. Adam Forrest Kay disagrees. ‘Escape From Shadow Physics’ is his fiery rebuke to Bohr’s mentality and his theory, arguing that legendarily mind-bending quantum phenomena have explanations that are as intuitive and natural as any other part of science. Thanks to Kay’s cutting-edge work at MIT, a genuine understanding of the quantum world seems just around the corner. Through bouncing droplets of oil, his team has observed quantum mechanical behaviour emerging on a macroscopic scale – a startling result which suggests that quantum and classical physics are not as irreconcilable as we have been led to think.

ISBN: 9781399609586 Category:


The received wisdom in quantum physics is that, at the deepest levels of reality, there are no actual causes for atomic events. This idea led to the outlandish belief that quantum objects – indeed, reality itself – aren’t real unless shaped by human measurement. Einstein mocked this idea, asking whether his bed spread out across his room unless he looked at it. And yet it remains one of the most influential ideas in science and our culture.

In?Escape from Shadow Physics, Adam Forrest Kay takes up Einstein’s torch: reality isn’t mysterious or dependent on human measurement, but predictable and independent of us. At the heart of his argument is groundbreaking research with little drops of oil. These droplets behave as particles do in the long-overlooked quantum theory of pilot waves; crucially, they display quantum behaviour while being described by classical physics.

What if the original doubters of our quantum orthodoxy (not least Einstein himself) were onto something? What if pilot wave theory was right all along? In that case, our whole story of twentieth-century physics is topsy-turvy and we must give up the idea that reality is simply too weird to grasp. Weird it may still be, but a true understanding of nature now seems within our reach.

Additional information

Weight 0.735 kg
Dimensions 16.2 × 23.8 × 4.2 cm










530.12 (edition:23)


College – higher education / Code: F

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