Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Cabot Science Library welcome theoretical physicist and celebrated science writer SEAN CARROLL for a discussion of his latest book, Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime.
Already hailed as a masterpiece, Something Deeply Hidden shows for the first time that facing up to the essential puzzle of quantum mechanics utterly transforms how we think about space and time. Sean Carroll’s reconciling of quantum mechanics with Einstein’s theory of relativity changes, well, everything.
Most physicists haven’t even recognized the uncomfortable truth: physics has been in crisis since 1927. Quantum mechanics has always had obvious gaps—which have come to be simply ignored. Science popularizers keep telling us how weird it is, how impossible it is to understand. Academics discourage students from working on the “dead end” of quantum foundations. Putting his professional reputation on the line with this audacious yet entirely reasonable book, Carroll says that the crisis can now come to an end. We just have to accept that there is more than one of us in the universe. There are many, many Sean Carrolls. Many of every one of us.
Copies of you are generated thousands of times per second. The Many Worlds Theory of quantum behavior says that every time there is a quantum event, a world splits off with everything in it the same, except in that other world the quantum event didn’t happen. Step-by-step in Carroll’s uniquely lucid way, he tackles the major objections to this otherworldly revelation until his case is inescapably established.
Rarely does a book so fully reorganize how we think about our place in the universe. We are on the threshold of a new understanding—of where we are in the cosmos, and what we are made of.
“Sean Carroll is always lucid and funny, gratifyingly readable, while still excavating depths. He advocates an acceptance of quantum mechanics at its most minimal, its most austere—appealing to the allure of the pristine. The consequence is an annihilation of our conventional notions of reality in favor of an utterly surreal world of Many Worlds. Sean includes us in the battle between a simple reality versus a multitude of realities that feels barely on the periphery of human comprehension. . . . A fascinating and important book.” —Janna Levin, professor of physics & astronomy, Barnard College of Columbia University, author of Black Hole Blues
“Sean Carroll beautifully clarifies the debate about the foundations of quantum mechanics, and champions the most elegant, courageous approach: the astonishing “many worlds” interpretation. His explanations of its pros and cons are clear, evenhanded, and philosophically gob smacking.” —Steven Strogatz, professor of mathematics, Cornell University, author of Infinite Powers
“Carroll gives us a front-row seat to the development of a new vision of physics: one that connects our everyday experiences to a dizzying hall-of-mirrors universe in which our very sense of self is challenged. It’s a fascinating idea, and one that just might hold clues to a deeper reality.” —Katie Mack, theoretical astrophysicist, North Carolina State University, author of The End of Everything (forthcoming)
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.