The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty
by Robert P. Crease and Alfred S. Goldhaber (2014)
Discussion Leader: Lindsey Zack
This book explores how a complicated scientific theory (quantum mechanics) has entered mainstream culture. The authors (one a physicist, the other a philosopher) discuss the scientific background in the context of literature, art, and culture. Faculty from many disciplines will find some common ground through this book discussion.
“The discovery of the quantum―the idea, born in the early 1900s in a remote corner of physics, that energy comes in finite packets instead of infinitely divisible quantities―planted a rich set of metaphors in the popular imagination. Quantum imagery and language now bombard us like an endless stream of photons. Phrases such as multiverses, quantum leaps, alternate universes, the uncertainty principle, and Schrödinger’s cat get reinvented continually in cartoons and movies, coffee mugs and T-shirts, and fiction and philosophy, reinterpreted by each new generation of artists and writers. The authors―one a philosopher, the other a physicist―draw on their training and six years of co-teaching to dramatize the quantum’s rocky path from scientific theory to public understanding…. Their book explores the quantum’s manifestations in everything from art and sculpture to the prose of John Updike and David Foster Wallace. The authors reveal the quantum’s implications for knowledge, metaphor, intellectual exchange, and the contemporary world.” Source: amazon.com