Farewell to reality

Jim Baggott

Why I looked at this book

"We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct." were the words of Niels Bohr on a way of judging a new idea in quantum theory. Now while this may encourage 'thinking outside the box' it is very bad for those viewing a subject from 'outside'. If they come up with crazy enough ideas are they entitled to have them taken seriously? It's more likely that ideas will only be considered if they come from a scientific elite, with a gatekeeper to decide what is acceptable (In quantum theory Bohr had this position). I'm hoping that this book discuss such issues.

First impressions

The topics in this book are rather more recent than Bohr and quantum theory. In particular the preface explains how in 2011 Baggott realised that much of what was presented as physics on TV was essentially make-believe, and that it has moved far away from Einstein's attempts to keep physics on the straight and narrow. Apparently he initially thought of calling the book What Would Einstein Say - one wonders why he didn't, since titles including a famous name seem very popular with publishers.

The first chapter lays down some ground rules for what is a valid way of doing science. I can't help thinking that it is a bit philosophical, and that it might have been better to jump in with some examples of fairytale physics, but I'll have to see how this approach pans out as the book proceeds.
Coming soon:
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