Why you need to read a good book about quantum physics
Picture the scene – we’re in a cafe sipping coffee in the middle of the day or sharing beers around a bonfire on a starry night – anywhere really. The person beside me (let’s call them ‘you’,) perhaps at a loss for what to say next, turns and asks, ‘so – what do you do?’
I freeze. I smile (kind of). I clear my throat.
I already know where this is going, but there’s no getting away from it. I am a quantum physicist and we’re about to have a very long and difficult conversation.
I watch, as your eyes grow big.
A quantum physicist? A real, live, quantum physicist? This is amazing because you’ve just read a book/a webpage/saw a TV show or had a dream about the subject and you either a) know all about it now and want to discuss it, or b) still don’t get it and would love it if I could (very quickly) explain it to you.
Oh boy! I’m not sure which one is better – or worse.
As they say, a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing and at least when someone knows nothing at all there are fewer misconceptions to correct. But there are so many misconceptions about quantum physics – and I just don’t know where they all came from.
That’s the biggest problem with quantum physics. But guess what – it’s not your problem it’s quantum physics’ problem. And as a quantum physicist (please imagine Super Man in ripped jeans and glasses with a whiteboard marker in each hand), I feel it is my duty to sort this out. So just like Super Man, when evil aliens are trying to destroy the world, when I’m sitting next to you around the bonfire and you tell me QP is ‘something to do with energy or vibes’ you better believe – I’m here to save you!
The first step is admitting you have a problem.
As I mentioned – a lot of people think they kind of know what it’s all about. It’s about the Law of Attraction, Energy, Vibes, Cats, Venn Diagrams… the list goes on. I’ve had at least fifty of these conversations over the years and by far the hardest part is bursting the bubble and telling someone everything they thought was right is wrong! And to repeat it – that’s not your fault. The problem is with quantum physics.
All these misconceptions about quantum physics largely come about because QP is counter-intuitive. Also, for some reason, almost every single book I’ve ever come across on the subject seems to have been written with the explicit aim of making sure the reader goes away more confused than before they started reading.
Seriously! Why are there no straightforward books on quantum physics? The cynic would argue it’s because the people in the ivory tower don’t want to share their knowledge. And they may be a little bit right. But also quantum physicists are nerds and nerds tend to be terrible at human-to-human communications. This is why when anyone wants me to talk to them about the topic I feel duty bound to right the wrongs committed by others in my discipline. It’s also why I thought it would be a good idea to write this book.
Why is this book called Quantum Physics for Hippies?
Warning! Low flying over-generalisation coming your way… In my humble opinion hippies are the most endangered species when it comes to misinformation about quantum physics – and also those most open to learning the truth about the subject. Another reason is that in every inquisitive person, there lives a little hippie who thinks about things from a different perspective and questions the authority of every statement. But that’s confidential information between you and me. The third and most important reason is that hippies and nerds have something unexpected in common. While nerds read books about physics, cosmology and computer science, hippies attend meditation retreats and emotional healing workshops. Do you see the connection?
Even though these things happen in different realms, in the end, each hippie and each nerd is merely looking for the truth within their world.
Don’t trust the man, Man!
You want to find the truth, but you are not willing to be told the truth if you can’t question and test the validity of this truth. A big part of keeping this thing called ‘civilization’ going relies on individuals not questioning every single thing, which comes along. To make life just slide along, we use social conventions and ideas of logic and intuition. But hippy-logic rejects this principle – and in some ways so does quantum physics.
However, if you dare to question everything you are told or assume to be correct you’ll find there’s a whole other world out there (in there). And in the science family tree, quantum physics is the black sheep of the flock questioning authority and describing the behavior of atoms and light. QP may sound a little wacky at first, telling us that the rules underpinning every aspect of reality are not those we expect, but listen carefully – and to the right person and it will start to make sense. Just like the old hippie in the corner, at first QP can sound out of its head, but once you start seeing the bigger picture it will all start to make sense – it not only reveals severe mistakes in the way we perceive the physical world, but it also questions fundamental beliefs we have about ourselves.
Prepare to have your mind blown!
I am going to blow your mind – you better just accept that before we start. The book you are about to read will destroy some of the misconceptions you have about quantum physics, life the universe and everything (hang on – can I say that?).
The first part of this book focuses on the physical world. We cover the dance of possibilities, Schrödinger’s cat, quantum entanglement, the Schrödinger equation and the influence of gossip. Then we build upon this knowledge to explore what that means for ourselves. We talk about the possibility wave of the universe, parallel universes, consciousness, the feeling of identity and the question of who or what we really are. This leads to a surprise that will shake your sense of reality completely. What? No I’m not going to tell you that right now? You’re not ready! As I have explained to many people in cafes and around the campfire, understanding QP is a process. With the right person to explain it (Super Man) you will understand quantum physics.
So when the time comes and you’re sitting next to me in cafe and you tell me you’ve just read a book about QP and I doubt you know what the hell you’re talking about – I hope you will then blow mind! [
Get the book here!